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Factors affecting the stopping distance of a ball rolling down a ramp.

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Factors affecting the stopping distance of a ball rolling down a ramp.


My aim in this experiment is to investigate how by changing the height of a ramp would affect the stopping distance of a ball rolling down it.


  1. I would step up the ramp by securing it to a boss and clamp, which is on a retort stand.
  2. I would then measure the height of the ramp and see if I need to adjust it.
  3. Then I would roll a marble down the ramp and wait the marble stops.
  4. Then I would measure the distance it took to stop, form the ball to the end of the ramp.
  5. After repeating this three times and noting down the measurements, I would then raise the height of the ramp by 5cms.


Fair Test

To ensure this experiment is fair, I would:

  • Use the same ramp. If I changed the ramp, one might have more friction than the other.
  • I would also use the same area where the ball is rolling onto.
  • I would also use the same measuring ruler.
  • Measure from the same point of the ball to in line with the end of the ramp. This would ensure me that I will get accurate results.


  • I would make sure that no one would step onto the ball.
  • I would also use the equipment correctly and sensibly.
...read more.


Other key factors that would change the stopping distance of a ball rolling down a ramp could be the: friction caused by the surface the ball is rolling on to, the mass of the ball, speed of the ball, the surface area of the ball, the material of the ball and the surface of the ramp.

         I will be only investigating the affect of changing the height if the ramp.


I predict that the higher the ramp is, the longer the stopping distance of the ball would be.

        I think this because the higher the ramp is, the more potential energy the ball would have. The potential energy will turn into kinetic energy as it rolls down the ramp.  When the ball is stopping, the carpet’s friction would be acting upon the ball. However, not all the potential energy is transferred to kinetic because some if the energy is lost to becoming sound and also heat caused by the friction.

...read more.


From the graph I can see a few anomalous points. This might be because there might have been a bump in the carpet or even a different ball. I would not necessarily say that the last three points of the graph are anomalous because of an error but it is because the ball might have bounced as it rolled down the ramp, as the ramp is higher.

I would have extended the investigation by investigating other factors that would affect the stopping distance of a ball rolling down a ramp such as the angle of the amp, the mass of the ball, surface of the ball and/or the surface it is rolling on to.

...read more.

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