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Motion of a sprinter during a 100m run

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Investigation 6.1

Motion of a sprinter during a 100m run

Distance moved (m)

Time at this point (sec)

Time interval for previous 10m (sec)


























The runner starts off slowly and her speed builds up. This is the curve at the bottom of the graph between 0 and 3 seconds it shows that she is accelerating. Her speed is quite consistent between 3 and 9 seconds. This is the relatively straight part in the middle of the graph. After nine seconds her speed reduces slightly until she reaches the end. This is the curve at the top of the graph and it she that she is decelerating.


The gradient at 1.0 seconds is; 5image07.png1.6 = 3.125

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Section of race (m)

Speed for the section (ms-1)

Time at the middle (sec)






















In the first two seconds the performer is rapidly gaining speed. She is accelerating from a still position to a speed of 5.2 (ms-1). Her maximum speed is 7.7 (ms-1) she reaches this speed at 6.4 seconds into the race. In the last three-quarters of the run she reaches her maximum speed and it is more consistent between 4.2 seconds and 7.4 seconds this is where the curve is almost level. After 7.4 seconds she gradually slows down. The curve is not as steep as the start of the run because her speed is only decreasing slowly. At the start of the run there is a bigger net force on the athlete because she is starting from a still position this enables her to accelerate.

At 0 seconds her speed is 0 ms-1.

At 1 second her speed is 3.6 meters per second per second, this is her acceleration in the fist second.

Acceleration= change of speed per second (ms-2)

During the last part of the run the runner is slowing down this could be because she is getting tired.

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Because the air is fast moving at the back of the object, it has relatively low pressure in comparison to that at the front of an object. This causes a force pulling the ball back, since objects will always move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. This is called drag. In speed sports drag must be minimised and this is done by streamlining.

At the end of the run there will be less force acting on the runner than at the start of the run as she is moving at a nearly constant speed at the end, while at the start she has to move off from a still position. She is accelerating at the start of her run so according to Newton’s first law there will be a net force acting on her.

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