Physics Experiment

Range of a Projectile - 2


The text makes some claims regarding the range of a projectile launched at an angle, namely:

This experiment will test these predictions.


Equipment used for this investigation might include:

Pasco projectile launcher

2.5 cm projectile

metric tape measure

carbon paper



scrap paper

stack of books and/or magazines

data table (*doc file)

ME-6800 projectile launcher

Safety Issues:



  1. The statements above are valid only if the projectile lands at the same height at which it is launched. Therefore, you have to construct a "landing zone" from a stack of books/magazines (or something) so that the projectile is caught at the same height as the "mouth" of the projectile launcher.
  2. Fasten the projectile launcher to the lab table with a c-clamp to prevent it from moving during your measurements.

Taking the Data:

  1. Set the angle of the projectile launcher to the first angle in the data table.
  2. Use the "ramrod" to push the projectile down into the barrel of the launcher. The launcher will shoot the projectile at 3 different speeds. You will hear and feel a click as the projectile reaches each position in the barrel. Indoors, low or medium speed is best.
  3. The precise landing spot of the projectile can be difficult to judge, so:
    1. first, place and adjust your stack of books so that the projectile hits it.
    2. now that you know the approximate landing spot, place a sheet of scrap paper on the top of your "landing zone", and place a piece of carbon paper inky-side down on the paper, the projectile will leave a mark where it lands.
  4. Sample dataShoot the projectile launcher at this angle 4-5 times. You should get a pattern of dots on the paper similar to the one shown at right. You could measure the distance to each of the hits and calculate the average, but it will be accurate enough for our purposes if you determine a visual average from the pattern and measure and record its range.
  5. Change the projectile launcher's angle, and go back to step 2.


Construct a graph of range versus angle for the projectile launcher. Be sure to label the graph carefully and neatly.


Do you think that your results confirm the textbook's claims about the range of a projectile? Why do you think so?


last update October 13, 2002 by JL Stanbrough