Measuring g, the acceleration due to gravity, is a commonly set experimental assignment in A-level physics. Many schools will assign this task as an opportunity to assess you against the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPACs) for the Practical Endorsement. There are many possible approaches and methodologies for approaching this task, and examination questions might require an understanding of any of them.

The symbol g is used to represent the gravitational field strength at a given location. The units are N kg–1 , so the value of g tells you how many newtons of force are exerted on each kilogram of mass. On the Earth’s surface the value of g varies between 9.76 N kg–1 and 9.83 N kg–1, but it is standard practice in calculations to use a value of 9.81 N kg–1 .

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