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Unit 2

2.2 The Gravitational Field

#gravitationalfield


written by

Erin Brzusek

erin brzusek

published on march 25, 2020

Last updated on June 14, 2020

Essential Knowledge 2.B.1 โฌ‡๏ธ

A gravitational field g at the location of an object with mass m causes a gravitational force of magnitude mg to be exerted on the object in the direction of the field.

Equation: F = mg

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Image Courtesy of tes.com

Weight, or force of gravity, is a force that acts on all objects near Earth. As pictured in the image above, Weight is always acting downwards towards the center of the Earth. The acceleration due to gravity on Earth, or g, is equal to 9.8 m/s/s; however, it is acceptable on the AP Physics 1 exam to substitute in 10 m/s/s for the acceleration due to gravity.ย 

With this knowledge, you can use an objectโ€™s mass in kilograms to find its Weight utilizing the equation F = mg. If this is the only force exerted on an object, the object is said to be in free fall. If you recall from Kinematics, an objectโ€™s acceleration is equal to 9.8 m/s/s when it is in free fall.

Key Concept: Weight - the Force of Gravity experienced by an object, changes depending on the relative location to Earthโ€™s surface or other planets

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  • SI Unit: Newtons

Key Concept: Mass - a measure of the inertia of an object, stays the same regardless of location

  • SI Unit: Kilograms

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