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Physics Honors/AP 1 and 2

LAB: Determining Friction in an Atwood's Machine

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Physics Lab

Physics Lab: Atwood's Machine

Goal: Determining the amount of friction in a pulley system.



  1. Review the following sources for lab design possibilities:
  2. Design an experiment to determine the friction in the pulley itself.
    • What materials, in addition to those listed, will you need?
    • What data will you collect? Identify the data and units you will use.
    • What variables (key factors) can you vary to look for trends or dependencies?
    • What controls can you put in place to isolate your key factors?
    • What calculations will you perform to analyze the data?
    • What steps must you take to measure the data you will need?
    • How will you minimize error in your collection methods?

Data Handling

  1. Use an appropriate method of data presentation (graph, table).
  2. Perform an appropriate error analysis.


Use the format outlined in the Student Guide to complete your report.

Post your report to the Lab Assginment for this lab at the Moodle.