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2016 AP Physics 1 FRQs .pdf


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2016 AP PHYSICS 1 FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS
PHYSICS 1
Section II
5 Questions
Time -- 90 minutes

Directions: Questions 1, 4 and 5 are short free-response questions that require about 13 minutes each to answer
and are worth 7 points each. Questions 2 and 3 are long free-response questions that require about 25 minutes
each to answer and are worth 12 points each. Show your work for each part in the space provided after that part.
1. (7 points, suggested time 13 minutes)
A wheel of mass M consisting of an outer ring and three inward spokes lies on a ramp with incline !, as
shown in the diagram below.

(a)

Label all forces (not their components) using arrows on the diagram below. The arrows should
indicate precisely where the force is acting, as opposed to its relation to the wheel’s center of
mass.

(b)

What force, if changed, would cause a change in angular velocity?
Briefly explain your answer.

2016 AP PHYSICS 1 FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS
(c)

The magnitude of the force due to static friction is 40 percent of the magnitude of the component
of the force in the opposite direction. Derive an equation for the acceleration of the center of mass
of the wheel in terms of M, !, and physical constants.

(d)

A block of ice, also of mass M, is placed at the top of the incline at rest next to the wheel. Both
are released simultaneously. Which reaches the bottom of the incline at a greater speed?
_____ The block of ice

_____ The wheel

i. Briefly explain your answer in terms of forces.

ii. Rephrase your answer, this time in terms of energy.

_____ They have the same speed

2016 AP PHYSICS 1 FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS
2. (12 points, suggested time 25 minutes)
A ball is advertised as “bouncing perfectly elastically” off of all surfaces. A student suspects that this is
not the case, and wishes to perform an experiment to determine the authenticity of the claim. They
hypothesize that, while the ball may demonstrate nearly perfect elastic behavior for low-speed collisions,
it will demonstrate notably less than perfect elastic behavior in high-speed collisions.
(a)

(b)

Devise an experiment that the student could use to test his hypothesis. The student has available
to him all of the resources of a typical physics laboratory.
i.

What measurements will need to be taken?

ii.

What tools will be used, and what will they be used for?

iii.

Describe how the experiment will be performed. Include enough information that
another student could replicate the experiment.

Describe how the data collected could be represented in a graph or a table. How can this data be
used to verify the student’s hypothesis?

2016 AP PHYSICS 1 FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS
(c)

A student performs the experiment outlined in (a) iii. They observe that, in low-speed collisions,
the ball exhibits nearly perfectly elastic behavior. However, they also observe that in high-speed
collisions, the measurements seem to violate a fundamental law of physics. Create a table or
graph for data collected in the experiment outlined in (a) iii that shows nearly perfect elastic
behavior for low-speed collisions and that appears to violate a fundamental law of physics for
high-speed collisions.

(d)

What fundamental law of physics appears to have been broken in the above table or graph?
How can you tell?

2016 AP PHYSICS 1 FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS
3. (12 points, suggested time 25 minutes)

There is a ramp with several bumps, more than 100, evenly spaced ! units from each other. The ramp has
incline !. It is shown below. A cart with mass M is released from rest at the top of the incline. A student
notices that after 40 bumps, the cart’s average velocity between bumps no longer increases, but rather
remains a constant !!"# for subsequent bumps.
(a)

On the graph below, show the velocity of the cart as it passes through the regions between, and
over, bumps 41-44. Also, plot a horizontal line and label it !!"# .

(b)

Suppose the distance ! between consecutive bumps is increased. How would this affect the
average velocity !!"# of the cart?
_____ Increase

_____ Decrease

_____ Remain the same

Briefly explain your reasoning.

(c)

Suppose the angle ! of the incline is increased. How would this affect the average velocity
!!"# of the cart?
_____ Increase

_____ Decrease

Briefly explain your reasoning.

_____ Remain the same

2016 AP PHYSICS 1 FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS
Sometimes it is beneficial to derive an equation to determine the value of a variable before
experimentation, then perform measurements to see if the equation derived corresponds with the data
collected. The student derives the following equation to determine the maximum average velocity !!"# of
the cart: !!"! = !
some constant.

!" !"# !
!

, where M is the mass of the cart, ! is the distance between bumps, and C is

The student performs an experiment in which a cart with mass M is released from the top of the incline.
He then uses photomeasurement tools to determine the average velocity of the cart after it has reached its
maximum. He repeats the experiment several times, changing the mass M of the cart each time, and
leaving all other things constant. Below is a graph of his data.

(c)

Does the data shown above make sense with the equation the student derived? Briefly explain
your reasoning.

(d)

Sometimes a derived equation may initially appear to correspond with experimental data, but in
fact does not hold up under more intense theoretical or experimental scrutiny. Does the equation
the student derived make physical sense? Briefly explain your reasoning.

2016 AP PHYSICS 1 FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS
4. (7 points, suggested time 13 minutes)
A circuit with four identical resistors A, B, C, and D is given below.

(a)

Rank the electric potential difference across each resistor in the diagram. If the electric potential
difference is the same for two or more resistors, be sure to indicate this clearly.

Resistor B is removed from the circuit, as shown below. The wires connecting B to the circuit are also
disconnected.

(b)

Did the current through resistor A increase, decrease, or stay the same?
_____ Increase

_____ Decrease

_____ Remain the same

Briefly explain your reasoning.

(c)

Did the current through resistor C increase, decrease, or stay the same?
_____ Increase

_____ Decrease

Briefly explain your reasoning.

_____ Remain the same

2016 AP PHYSICS 1 FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS

5. (7 points, suggested time 13 minutes)
A rope with a fixed length and a constant linear mass density is hung vertically from an oscillator as
shown in the left above diagram. The oscillator begins to move with a constant frequency, causing the
rope to move in the manner shown in the right above diagram.
(a)

The tension at point P in the diagram above is greater than the tension at point Q. Explain why
this is true.

(b)

A student stated that increasing the tension in a rope would increase the speed of waves passing
through that rope. In a clear, coherent paragraph-length response, explain why this is true and
how the diagram above can be used to support the student’s statement.


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