12 Sep Uplifting experimentation
AP Physics 1 students shifted from the lab to the climbing room to conduct a real life investigation centered on a ‘crevasse rescue’ of a climbing partner. Drawing on teacher Stephen Anderson’s mountaineering experience, and with the support of the Hanifl Centre team and our new outdoor coordinator Mallikarjun, they configured a 3 to 1 ‘Z-pulley system’. Used in mountain rescue, this pulley system provides a mechanical advantage, which the class was able to experience and compare with the effort required to lift their fellow students with a single pulley.
Using a Vernier force pad, students could determine their pull strength and then work out the actual mechanical advantage achieved. In practice this was not as good as the theoretical ratio of 3 to 1, but was closer to 2.1 to 1, due to rope stretching and inherent friction in the system. Through the experiment, students were able to gain a better understanding of tension forces in ropes and an appreciation of the skills required in mountaineering.