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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 1807

An experiment to investigate the relationships between the release height of a metal ball and the diameter of its impact crater.

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Lois dean 10k

An experiment to investigate the relationships between the release height of a metal ball and the diameter of its impact crater


In this experiment I will be investigating the relationships between the release height of a metal ball and the diameter of its crater impact in a tub of sand. First of all I will do some preliminary work to see which of the balls has the biggest difference when it is dropped at different heights. Then I will do the main experiment which I include seeing the relationships between the release height and the diameter of the ball.


  • Weight of the ball
  • Fineness of the sand
  • Release height of the ball
  • The speed at which the ball is dropped
  • Deepness of the sand
  • Size of the ball
  • Temperature
  • Crosswind in the room

Chosen factor

The factor that I have chosen to investigate will be the release height of the ball which means that I will have to drop the ball from different heights to see the relationships between the height and the impact crater that in makes in the sand.

Fair test

I will make my experiment a fair test keeping all the other factors (mentioned above)

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Release height 100








These results show that the ball with the biggest difference was ball two with a difference of 1.0 both times I did the experiment. So this is why I chose to do the main experiment with ball 2.


The range of heights that I used were the highest being 100cm to the lowest being 10cm I chose these heights because there were practical I could drop the ball without causing much hazard, I made 100cm my highest height because if I did a higher height I wouldn’t be able to reach the height, it would also be very hard to get it on target to hit the sand. I made sure that the heights were evenly spread out so I went up in 10's. The release height in cms went 10, 20,30,40,50, 60, 70, 80, 90,100cm. I will repeat the experiment three times, then I have collected all the results I will work out the averages.

Diagram of experiment


List of apparatus

  • A metal ball
  • Sand
  • A tub
  • 1 meter ruler
  • Boss
  • A clamp
  • A paper clip
  • 30cm ruler


  • First of all I will set up the apparatus, like in the diagram above. I will put the boss and clamp together, then fill the tub with sand so that it is full to the top and is very flat and then attach the meter ruler so that it lies just on top of the tub of sand.
  • I will then get the ball that I have chosen to do the main experiment with and I will hold it at a height and then I will drop it.
  • To measure the crater that the ball has left in the sand I unraveled a paper clip and stretched it to the widest part of the crater, and then I will hold it against the smaller ruler and measure off the ruler.
  • I will do this three times at each height.
  • When I have got all the results, I will add the three results that I got for the one height, and then I will divide them by three.
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Improve the experiment

I could have improved the experiment by making sure all the sand was even and not in clumps, I could have got a wider tub with not as much depth because this may have caused a bad result because when I dropped the ball from a long distance I sometimes missed because the tub I used was very deep which made the sand hard and compact and it was also not very wide.


I could have changed the experiment to obtain a bigger range of results by making the range of results smaller, I could of made the intervals between measurements it could have gone 5, 10, 15, so this could also makesmaller intervals between the readings. I could have repeated the experiment a few more times and then I would have had a more accurate average for each of the release heights. The points lie quite well on the graph

Further work

The further work that I could have would probably be to drop the ball from higher heights to see what the affect would be I could have tried dropping the ball into different solids. Taking more results would also see if the graph would level off. To have tested the balls from different heights I would have needed to get a longer ruler, the graph seems to show that you reach a point where the crater will stop increasing.

Physics coursework

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations section.

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