Air Track (1.26) - A Preview

An ideal teaching aid experiment to explore basic concepts of physics.


An air track is a perforated rail that is connected to an air blower. Compressed air is sprayed from the holes and forms a thin layer on the surface of the track. This layer fills the space between the air track and the inner surface of a glider. As a result, the movement of the glider can be regarded as almost friction-free. This apparatus can be used to experimentally study important concepts in kinematics such as velocity, acceleration, momentum, collisions, and kinetic energy. It is an ideal teaching aid for physics. In this experiment, we provide students with an opportunity to explore some of these ideas through experiments that they can devise on their own.


• Frictionless track with an air cushion.
• Simple setup to study and investigates kinematics.
• The concepts of velocity, acceleration, and momentum.
• Newton’s second law of motion.
• Determining the value of gravitational acceleration g.
• Calculating uncertainties.

How does it work?

Objects can glide over the air track, levitating in the air with minimal friction. The AirTrack setup comprises different shaped objects, some affixed on the setup while others can glide on it. The motion of all of the moving objects is recorded via photogates attached to a Physlogger device which makes it possible to record the motion in run-time and analyze it on a computer.

In a typical measurement, two flags attached on the glider’s edges obstruct the path of a stationary photo-gate which enables the PhysLogger to measure the time between the two events. A sample of data with uncertainty is displayed.

This information is sufficient to determine:

  • the instantaneous speed of the glider and the uncertainty involved.
  • the average speed of the glider.
  • the energy and momentum loss when gliders make multiple round trips on the air track.
  • the acceleration of the glider when a mass M is attached to it using a thread that goes over a pulley.
  • the uncertainties involved with each of the above quantities.

Parts Included

  1. Foundation the main air track
  2. Gliders
  3. Pulley and Pulley Holder
  4. Rubber Foot
  5. Bumper and Bumper Holder
  6. Flag Posts
  7. Glider Flag
  8. Weight Holder
  9. Physlogger
  10. Photogate & Retort Stands

>You can get the PDF version of the brochure by clicking on this link.