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How will changing the distance an elastic band is stretched effect the distance a plastic tub travels down a runway?

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David Pasque

How will changing the distance an elastic band is stretched effect

the distance a plastic tub travels down a runway?


The aim of this experiment is to see how changing the distance an elastic band is stretched will effect how far a tub is catapulted down a runway.


In our experiment we plan to test how far we can catapult a plastic tub across a runway using an elastic band. We are going to get a runway and place it on a flat surface; at one end we will place a piece of wood horizontally across the width of the underside of the runway. The wood will have two nails in it on which the elastic band will be stretched around, this will come over the top of the runway to allow the elastic band to be pulled back and catapult a plastic tub along the runway. The equipment we will be using is:


Plastic Tub,

Length of wood with a nail in either end,

Elastic band,



This is how we will lay out our experiment:

The results we are going to collect are the distance the plastic tub travels. The variable we are going to alter in this experiment is the distance the elastic band is stretched backwards. This will change the force of the elastic band.

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The force, in this case being friction, will stay the same because the weight inside the tub is staying constant and we are using the same surface throughout the experiment, these are not changing so the force will also stay constant and not change. According to my prediction, as the work done (energy given to the tub by the elastic band) increases, so will the distance the tub travels.


The way we carried out our experiment was how we planned it apart from two things that we added to ensure a more accurate experiment. When we were measuring how far we pulled back the elastic band, we actually marked on the runway each distance to ensure that it was the exact distance that it needed to be so when we repeated the experiment it would be in exactly the same place. This kept the test fairer and I think gave us more accurate results.

The second thing we altered is we put weights in the tub. When we were carrying out test runs we soon found out that the tub would fly way past the end of the runway and usually end up on the floor.

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Work Done = Force x Distance.


If I were given opportunity to do this experiment again I would change a few things about how I carried it out. Firstly I would have put more measures in place to make sure my methods were fairer, one of then being make sure it is the same person who pulled the elastic band back each time and also have a longer runway so as the tub didn’t crash into the end. I would also make sure that my results were more accurate by marking all the measurements on at once, and also repeating my experiment 5 times to ensure better and more accurate results. I would improve the whole thing by using a much thicker rubber band, as the ones we were given were very thin and could snap easily.

In my table of percentage increase I can see that there is one result that does not fit the pattern. I think this is because it is just a duff result and if I were to do this experiment again I would ensure that this didn’t happen by repeating the experiment 5 times.

If I were to do another experiment to find more about my aim I would probably do an experiment to test how increasing the amount of elastic bands affects the distance a plastic tub will catapult.

...read more.

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