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Trolley and ramp investigation.

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Trolley and ramp investigation


AIM: the aim of this experiment is to find out whether raising the height of a ramp which a trolley travels down is proportional to the speed at which it travels down the ramp.

A trolley is pushed to the top of a ramp, the summit being 10cm (primarily) from the ground, and then is released. It rolls all the way down the ramp, of 2 metres, before it is stopped by somebody’s hand. I thought it would be interesting to record the time taken for the trolley to reach the bottom, and then calculate its average speed. I let the trolley fall down the ramp two more times after that, just to make their results more accurate.

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(where m=mass, h=height and g=gravity)

I will be investigating, by varying the height the summit of the ramp is raised off the ground, if the average speed has any relation to the height of the ramp.

There will always be smaller forces that could slightly affect the result, such as friction between the ramp and the trolley’s wheels, and air resistance. There is no way I can control any of these factors, but they shouldn’t affect the results so much as to give completely anomalous readings for each experiment.


When planning my experiment, I will need to take into consideration the following points:

· Safety

· Fair testing

· Equipment

· How many results I will take


With this straightforward experiment there is not much that needs to be taken into consideration.

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· Height of ramp – as this is included in the formula for potential energy, the height of the ramp should affect the speed of the trolley in some way and I will be modulating this variable in the experiment.

· Mass of trolley – mass is also included in the formula for potential energy and so could affect the speed of the trolley one way or the other. During the experiment we should constrain it simply by not adding any weights to the trolley and always using the same trolley to collect each result.

· Gravity – the last portion of the formula for potential energy is gravity, which will affect the outcome if it is increased or decreased. The way to maintain this factor is to simply stay on the same planet.

...read more.

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