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Converting Gravitational Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy.

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Physics Coursework: Converting Gravitational Potential

Energy to Kinetic Energy



A ball bearing is released from the top of the v-shaped runway. When it reaches the bottom of the runway it should roll along the bench at a constant speed. The speed, v, will be found by measuring the time it takes for the ball bearing to travel a distance of 1m, hence the metre rule. To improve accuracy, 3 measurements of speed at each height will be taken. In order to construct a good graph the results of at least 6 different times should be used.


I predict that by increasing the height of the v-shaped runway, this will increase the amount of gravitational potential energy lost, and increase the amount of kinetic energy gained.

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There were a few problems in recording results for this experiment, and if this experiment were to be repeated in future, some alterations would be necessary to make the results more realistic and conform to the expected results.

If the ball did not roll along the bench in the right direction, after leaving the runway, it would fall off the bench and another measurement would have to be recorded because if the ball does not roll along the bench, the measurement would be void. The subject on the stopwatch who was stopping the watch when they felt the ball pass the metre rule may not have been accurate with their

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Another possible fault with the recording measurements part of this experiment was that it would have been more efficient and accurate to use a “speedometer” to find the speed at which the ball is travelling at, instead of recording the time it takes to travel a certain distance. A “speedometer”, presuming it would be electrical and more technological, may produce more accurate results and give a better understanding of how increasing the gravity of an object, in this case a V-shaped runway, actually effects the object being released from it.

These are problems, which can be solved if we performed the experiment again, and would perhaps give more accurate results.

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