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How Does Changing The Force In An Elastic Band Affect The Distance Travelled By A Margarine Tub?

Extracts from this document...


Stephanie Fletcher

The Problem

How Does Changing The Force In An Elastic Band Affect The Distance                                      Travelled By A Margarine Tub?

Background Knowledge

When the elastic band is pulled back, the tub is put into place and you let go of the elastic band, the tub will travel a certain distance. The tub will then stop due to energy and forces acting on the tub.

        The tub firstly moves due to energy. The law of energy is that energy can not be made or destroyed, but it can be changed from one form to another or transferred from place to another. When the elastic band is pulled back tension in the band causes potential energy. When you let go, the potential energy is transferred to kinetic energy in the band, so the band moves. As the band moves the tub does. This is because the kinetic energy in the band is transferred to kinetic energy in the tub. The tub will continue to move till forces come into contact with the tub.

        One of the forces that affect the tub from continuously moving is friction. Friction works in opposition with the movement of the object. The surface of the tub is rough and the surface of the table is also rough, so the two surfaces catch and the tub slows down.

        The other force slowing the tub down is air resistance. Air resistance is when the face of the tub collides with the air particles and slows the movement of the tub down.

         A force is a push or a pull and is measured in newtons. The band pushes the tub, therefore it moves. When a force is applied to an object it can change three things about it.

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        By changing the surface that I am doing the investigation on I could be changing the amount of friction being produced between the surface and tub. If I did one experiment on a rough surface then the distance would lower, then that if I did the experiment on a smoother surface. To keep the experiment a fair test I want to produce the same amount of friction so I would keep the surface the same every time I repeated the investigation.

        To keep the experiment fair and to establish that the bigger the force applied to the tub the greater the distance it will travel I will keep the shape of the tub the same. If I changed the shape of the tub then I am altering the aerodynamic nature of the tub. This means that there could be more or less air particles going by the tub then in the previous experiment. If there are more air particles colliding with the front of the tub then this mean that air resistance has been increased. If air resistance has been increased then the distance the tub travels will decrease as air resistance is a force slowing the tub down, and decreasing the distance it travels.

Preliminary Investigation

Aim: To determine the range of forces to be used and to decide the values of the other variables.

Shape of tub: Pure

Surface area of base: 82cm²

Surface area of front of tub: 42cm²

Mass of the tub (including 4 weights): 56.3g

Floor surface used: Floor

Distance traveled at 2N: 16cm

Distance traveled at 10N: 261cm

Force range to be used: 2N – 10N

A Table To Show How Changing The Force On A Elastic Band Affects The Distance A Tub Travels

The force on the elastic band in newtons

The surface area of the front of the tub in cm²

The surface area of the bottom of the tub in cm²

The mass of the tub in grams

The shape of the tub

The surface used

The distance the tub travels in cm

1st try

2nd try

3rd try






























































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        A procedural problem that would have affected my results would be an increase or decrease of air resistance that would have been achieved from the door or window being open or shut. The consequence of having the door or window open would be an increase in distance if the air resistance was low because the door or window was shut. If the door or window was open then there would be an increase in air resistance resulting to the tub travelling a smaller distance. I would keep the doors and windows shut if I did the investigation again.

        The position on the floor where I placed the chair when I did the experiment the next day would be different to the previous day. The affect it would have on my investigation is that the friction levels will be different as the floor is straighter in other parts. If friction is increased then the distance the tub travels will increase. The tub will travel a smaller distance with high amounts of friction. I would mark around the legs of the chair on the floor where I place the chair in the experiment if I could do the investigation again.

        The mass of the tub would be different due to using different weights the next day, would cause a problem. This is as the mass amplifies then the distance decreases. If the mass is decreased then the distance of the tub increases. If I did the investigation again then I would use the same weights and then check that the tub and weights weighed the same as the experiment before.

        The distance was affected by the tub lifting into the air when it was forced forward by the elastic band. The amount of friction was therefore decreased and the distance that the margarine tub travelled was greater then it should have been. If I could re-do my investigation then I would do that attempt of the force again.

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