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Factors affecting the speed of a trolley

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Factors affecting the speed of a trolley Travelling down a ramp Factors such as; type of surface of ramp, height of ramp, weight/mass of trolley and the gradient or angle of a ramp all affect the speed of a trolley as it travels down a ramp. For instance a trolley may accelerate faster down a ramp on smooth wood rather than on carpet because carpet might provide greater friction for the tyres rather than the smooth wood. Out of all these factors, I am going to pick just 1 factor and alter it 5 different times, doing 3 trials for each time. We have also done some preliminary work on ticker - timers, so in my investigation I am going to expand on the notion of ticker - timers and incorporate my knowledge of ticker - timers in to this investigation. Aim: To investigate the relationship between the speed of the trolley as it travels down the ramp and the gradient of the ramp. Hypothesis: I believe that the speed of the trolley travelling down the ramp will increase as the gradient of the ramp is increased. This is because of several different factors. One of these factors is Potential energy. Potential energy is stored energy possessed by a system as a result of the relative positions of the components of that particular system. In this case, it is a trolley that is held at the top of the ramp, which is above the ground; the trolley and the earth possess a certain amount of potential energy. In this experiment we are focusing on a particular type of potential energy, gravitational energy. (From here on, the phase potential energy will be referred to as gravitational potential energy.) Potential energy is the energy stored in an object as a result of its vertical position (i.e., height.) The energy is stored as the result of the gravitational attraction of the earth for the object.


After our first trial for that particular height we then done another two more trails. Next we set up the ticker- timer again, making sure the wires were plugged into the ticker timer in their right places, we threaded the ticker - timer tape through the ticker timer and stuck it down with cellotape onto the back of the trolley. We then measured the time the trolley took the to travel down the ramp and jotted the time down. We repeated this process for another time so we had three trials for that particular height. We then moved on to another height. First we placed a ramp on another stair and measured its height then we measured the time taken for the trolley to go down the stairs and put that into our table. Next we did three trials for this height. In total we did five heights, remember to change the height of the ramp, and measure it with a metre stick, each time recording the height into your results table. As you can see, in this investigation I have incorporated ticker- timers. A ticker timer is designed to print dots onto tape at a steady rate of 50 dots per second. The use of a ticker- timer can record the motion of a trolley down a runway. As the trolley accelerates down the runway, it pulls the tape through the timer at a faster and faster rate. Therefore the dots become widely spaced because the tape travels faster and faster. The time interval between successive dots is 0.02s (= 1/50s.) The tape can be marked into 10 dot sections, each section taking 0.2s (= 10/50s) to pass through the ticker- timer. The sections get longer as the tape goes through faster and faster. Note: In our experiment we could not calculate the acceleration of the trolley because if we took the initial speed of the trolley when it was at the top of the ramp which was 0m/s, this would mean the speed was constant and would not be accelerating.


2. Before we let go off the trolley, I held the ramp so that it would not tilt and therefore it would not interfere with the speed of the trolley as it travelled down the ramp. These above factors will also give me more accurate and reliable results. People consider accurate and reliable results as the same kind of result but it is not. Accurate results are results, which are right or correct results. A reliable result means, every time you carry out the experiment they are almost identical results. For example a normal weighing scale might give you reliable results, which gives you the same results each time you do the experiment but they are not as accurate as if you measure with a digital scale. I believe that my results are reliable but not accurate because we had limited resources to carry out the experiment with. Looking at my results they do follow a pattern and a trend. Both the potential and kinetic energy go up as the height increase but more potential than kinetic. The acceleration of the trolley is more than the speed of the trolley and both the kinetic energy and acceleration graphs are almost identical. I have no anomalous results but two inaccurate results, which do not fit in with the rest of the attempts at the same heights. This may have happened because the person timing the trolley may have pressed the digital stopwatch's stop button too late. Even though two of my results are a little inaccurate on the whole my results are reliable and I believe that you can draw a firm conclusion from them. My results do tell the basic idea that if the gradient of the ramp is increased so is the speed of the trolley and using Hi-Tec equipment will also give you the same conclusion. I believe the only other way of getting more accurate results is to use more accurate and precise equipment.

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