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How friction and gravitational potential energy affect the distance travelled by a toy car from an incline plane of different heights and textures.

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Alex Hagan 10 B1/TH10/02/03

Physics Coursework


My experiment is going to show how friction and gravitational potential energy affect the distance travelled by a toy car from an incline plane of different heights and textures.  


I predict that the toy car will travel the furthest on the highest setting (25cm) and on the surface with the least amount of friction (wood).

 This is because there will be more gravitational potential energy and less friction between the wheels of the toy car and the surface of the ramp, to slow the toy car down thus giving a greater distance travelled.

  I predict that the toy car will travel the shortest distance on the lowest setting (5cm) and with the most friction on the ramp surface (carpet).  

This is because there is less gravitational potential energy and more

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We will have one person letting go of the toy car from the top of the ramp and one person recording the distances achieved.We are going to measure the distance travelled from the front of the car at right angles to the metre rulers.


  • The height of the ramp.
  • The texture of the ramp.

Results Table


Gravitational potential energy (GPE)



       = 0.115kg X 10N X 0.05m

       = 0.0575 J



       = 0.115kg X 10N X 0.1m

       = 0.115 J

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I think that my experiment and method were quite accurate this is because out of the 20 average results only 1 was anomalous (25cm on wood). I could improve my method by talking more results this would decrease the chance of getting an anomalous result.

I could take this experiment further by having the same surfaces on the floor, as on the ramp, this would show how friction slows down the toy car.  If I did this experiment I would use the same car and start heights to compare my results with those on a concrete floor as in my first experiment.  I would expect that Carpet would get the least distance and Wood would get the furthest distance, I would take more results so that there is less chance of getting an anomalous result.

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