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An investigation into the energy in an elastic band and the amount it is stretched in comparison with the energy stored or lost in the process of doing so.

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Introduction

PHYSICS COURSEWORK

CATAPULT EXPERIMENT

Introduction

This coursework is an investigation into the energy in an elastic band and the amount it is stretched in comparison with the energy stored or lost in the process of doing so.

Using the formula Energy (or force) (J) = Force (N) x distance (m)

Work is defined as the application of a force to an object that results in the object moving. When work is done to an object then it is turned into kinetic or potential energy. For example, if you were to stretch an elastic band and put a round rock into the end of it, then the rock can fire from the elastic band like a catapult. The elastic band has potential energy that was transferred from energy from your muscles when you pulled it back which is chemical energy.

Using a newton ruler we stretched the rubber band back. Between each measurement we stretched the elastic band back 2 newtons on the newton metre each time. Then using the rubber band we catapulted the 100g weight. After the 100g weight had been ‘catapulted’ we then went to measure the distance it had travelled from the stool using a metre ruler.

Apparatus

Purpose

Stool

To hold the two ends of the elastic band

1 elastic band

To pull the weight back

1 metre ruler

To measure the distance travelled by the weight

100g weight

The object can be catapulted to work out the force (N)

A 50 newton metre

To measure the force accurately

...read more.

Middle

130

150

120

From completing and looking at these preliminary results I can see that rounding up to the nearest ten is not a reliable enough number to round up to. It is not accurate enough to prove whether or not my prediction is correct. So I will round my results to 1dp instead in the main experiment.

By doing the preliminary experiment, I have decided to make some changes to my main experiment. In the main experiment I will need more sets of results, preferably 5 if I have enough time to do so, as I know at least 2 results out of 5 will be accurate enough to draw a conclusion from.

I’m keeping the range of 2-12 newtons of force for my main experiment because this is a sufficient enough range to make a decent conclusion from.

Main Experiment Results

These are the five sets of results I completed from my main experiment. As you can see some are not as constant as others. So I will draw up on a graph the two most reliable, constant sets of data. These are the 2nd and 5th results, calculated to 1dp accuracy.

Weight (force)

Results (cm)

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

Average of 2nd and 5th

2N

13.8

7.7

5.0

6.1

7.4

7.6

4N

53.3

29.0

11.4

13.4

31.6

30.3

6N

105.1

46.8

34.9

38.1

51.2

49.0

8N

263.3

55.4

49.6

45.3

60.0

57.7

10N

390.5

114.0

71.4

90.2

110.0

112.0

12N

475.5

123.0

104.0

111.7

131.3

127.2

...read more.

Conclusion

There is no more precise position or method to release the weight that I can think of, however I could have made the experiment more accurate perhaps by drawing a straight line on the floor to indicate where the centre part of the stool is, to release the weight in the middle of the stool, instead of slightly to the side (as I probably did do during the experiment).

If I were to repeat the experiment, I would make it further more reliable and accurate. I would do this by reducing the friction from the floor as the weight travels. I could do this by getting a very large sheet of glass and using it to catapult the weight across from the elastic band, this way hardly any friction is created when it travels.

If I were to further investigate the effects of elastic bands, I would experiment with elastic bands of various thicknesses, to see if the thickness of an elastic band effects the distance the weight travels. Or I would find out what happens when an elastic band is stretched almost to breaking point – whether it would store more energy or less.

...read more.

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