is original data taken by a group of physics students at Mills High
School in Millbrae, CA.
The setup is shown in the diagram at right. We're looking at the
repulsive force between two magnets as a function of the distance
between them. To get the force, one of the disk magnets is glued
to a digital scale, and the other is gradually lowered from above.
As the magnets get closer together, the repulsive force pushes down
on the scale.
We have dist_cm, the distance in centimeters,
and force_gf, the force in grams of force, that
is, the number the scale reads.
Questions and tasks
How does the force depend on distance?
Explain that theoretically, if you can--or make a numerical model.
What effect does gravity have on this experiment? Does it matter
that it's set up vertically? If there is a problem, what can we
do to correct it?