Characterizing the movement of a falling rigid rod

In this paper we present a simple experimental set-up to study the fall of a rigid rod, which can freely rotate around an articulated joint at the lowest point. The experimental set-up permits preparation of a laboratory session for physics or engineering students. The analysis of the data is oriented at several degrees of difficulty, in such a way that the same experimental set-up can be used with students on different courses. The experimental data obtained with an electro-optical sensor are fitted to the theoretical equation of motion, obtaining a very good agreement between experiment and theory. In addition, direct measurement of the parameters involved in the equations was carried out, showing a very good agreement with the calculated parameters.