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Investigating the effects of increasing Gravitational Potential Energy on the speed of an object.

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Investigating the effects of increasing Gravitational Potential Energy on the speed of an object.

        My aim of the experiment is to find whether if you raised the height of an object giving it more G.P.E the object’s speed increases too. I will measure the speed using a ticker timer and will try and make it as much of a fair test as possible.

        The variables from this test are both dependant and independent. The independent variables can be changed as I have control over them but to make it a fair test I will be keeping them constant apart from one, this is because the one you change has a direct effect on the dependant. The dependant variables will change as they depend on the independents (as the name suggests).

        The independent variables are; the height of the ramp and the mass of the trolley (0.95 kg in my experiment), I will change the height of the ramp so the dependant will be affected giving me the results I need. The dependant is the speed of the trolley.

        During the experiment I will be measuring the speed of a trolley while it travels down different heights on the same ramp. I’ll attach a piece of ticker tape attached to a ticker timer to record the speed.

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I set the apparatus as shown on my diagram:

  1. We placed a ramp on a wooden block at a height of 0.33m.
  2. Prepare the ticker tape in to 9 strips of 2m lengths.
  3. Place trolley supported ready to role down the slope.
  4. We then stuck a piece of ticker tape an inch on to the trolley and left another inch gap from the edge of the tape and the ticker-timer.
  5. We set up the electrical circuit so the ticker-time would be able to work.
  6. We switched on the ticker-time and released the trolley down the ramp letting it run until it reached the end of the 2m tape.
  7. We detached the tape and repeated twice more.
  8. We raised the ramp up to 0.43m and repeated steps 1-5 again.
  9. We raised the ramp up to 0.53m and repeated steps 1-5 again.
  10. This would produce an average speed so our results were more accurate.

I then collected my results into a table and worked out the equations from my diagram sheet:


        As I increased the G.P.E I was trying to show the effect of it on the speed, to give the object more G.P.E I raised the ramp giving it more height.

We attached the ticker timer paper to the trolley and we

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        One improvement I’d make if I was to redo the experiment would be to measure exactly 2m and place a stopper at the end of the 2m so the trolley stops and each records the same amounts of dots, extra work I could do towards this is to try different length planks example of 1m and 2m and find the average of the two to see if the speed increases in the top or bottom half. I’d do more heights so I’d be able to estimate the percentage of speed increase and it would give me more data to prove my point hopefully it would improve accuracy.        

        You also have to consider friction from the board, if it had a totally smooth surface the trolley will move faster, but if it us bumpy as loss of energy through friction slowing the trolley.

        I think I have produced strong enough results and evidences to provide a conclusion be not enough accuracy to show my results are the definite results everyone are expected to get. I show a strong of trend of results to prove speed does increase with height giving more G.P.E, you would need to do the experiment many time with more heights. Taking more care and accuracy adjusting the experiment by my improvements.

        In conclusion I believe if you increase the height the speed of the trolley, the G.P.E, and the K/E will also increase

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