1. ## Determing Acceleration, Tension

I hung five weights of known masses from the wheel, and these fell a known distance in a known time.
I also hung a weight and added mass until it just began to move, so I know the frictional force the wheel must overcome to spin.

I feel so silly asking it, but how can I find
the acceleration of the falling masses?
the tension in the string?

2. ## Acceleration and tension

Hello Oijl
Originally Posted by Oijl
I hung five weights of known masses from the wheel, and these fell a known distance in a known time.
I also hung a weight and added mass until it just began to move, so I know the frictional force the wheel must overcome to spin.

I feel so silly asking it, but how can I find
the acceleration of the falling masses?
the tension in the string?
You don't give us enough detail for me to give you a specific answer, but these are the principles you should use:

1. If you know that a body starts with velocity $\displaystyle u$, and it travels a distance $\displaystyle s$, in time $\displaystyle t$, with an acceleration $\displaystyle a$, then

$\displaystyle s = ut +\tfrac{1}{2}at^2$

Obviously, if your weights start from rest, then $\displaystyle u = 0$, and the equation is simply

$\displaystyle s = \tfrac{1}{2}at^2$

2. If the tension in the string is $\displaystyle T$ (upwards) and there is a weight force $\displaystyle mg$ downwards, and the acceleration is $\displaystyle a$ (downwards) then

Resolve downwards: $\displaystyle mg-T = ma$

If you know $\displaystyle a$ and $\displaystyle m$, this will give you the tension, $\displaystyle T$.