Skip Navigation

Air Track - Constant Velocity And Uniform Acceleration


To demonstrate constant velocity and uniform acceleration using an air track.


Air track, gliders, photocell gate timer system, small accelerating masses with audiotape frictionless cord, as photographed.◙

Setup Time

5 min.




All gliders are equipped with a 5 cm tab which interrupts the light beam when passing through the photocell gate. The timing system can be set to measure the time a tab takes to move through the gate or the time taken for the glider to move from gate A to gate B (not B to A). The timer can be set at full scale ranges from 99.9 ms through 999 seconds for a range of applications. ◙Pushing a glider along the track illustrates constant velocity. Gliders can be connected to a mass hanging over a pulley at the end of the air track, or the air track can be tilted, to illustrate uniform acceleration.


(PIRA 1C10.25) An instruction sheet for the photocell gate timer is available in the Demonstration Reference File.