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Identify the factors affecting the braking distance of a toy car.

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Introduction

Oliver Heywood        Physics Coursework        02/05/2007

Planning the Investigation

Aim:

My aim through this experiment is to identify the factors affecting the braking distance of a toy car; the factor I am investigating is Speed. The reason I choose speed to investigate was because I thought of all the possible outcomes and worked out that the mass would only be able to go up to no more than five masses on the car as there would not be enough carpet as a breaking area without falling off the table. So from the results I can plot graphs of Speed and Breaking Distance against the mass of the car. I am investigating the speed variable and looking at the breaking distance.  

Method:

To begin with a car which is 2.5 inches long and weighs 52.2g is placed at a height on the plastic runway. The car runs down the track and onto a piece of carpet. I then take the results that come up on the computer screen, which is the speed, measured in m/s. These results are recorded by a light gate sensor; the car travels down the runway and intercepts the beam of the light gate.

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Middle

2nd Speed (m/s)

Average Speed (m/s)

Braking Distance (cm)

2nd Braking Distance (cm)

Average Braking Distance (cm)

2.22

2.27

2.24

100

102.8

101

2.06

2.11

2.09

94

92

93

1.93

2.00

1.97

87.1

88

88

1.87

1.90

1.89

83

82.5

83

1.75

1.76

1.76

75

74.6

75

1.73

1.73

1.73

69.8

70

70

1.68

1.66

1.67

65

63

64

1.55

1.54

1.55

58

60

59

1.43

1.42

1.43

54

53.3

54

1.36

1.38

1.37

48.5

49

49

1.18

1.17

1.18

44

41.9

43

1.11

1.10

1.11

38

36

37

0.94

0.94

0.94

26.4

27.8

27

0.75

0.76

0.76

20.1

19

20

0.67

0.67

0.67

15

13

14

0.59

0.57

0.58

10

9

10

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Conclusion

I would do each experiment many more times so when averaged it would get rid of the anomalous results.

Evaluation

My predictions were close but not close enough as there were around 6 anomalous results. I can’t make a complete conclusion, to do this I would have to redo the experiment making use of the alterations recommended in the conclusion.Also I would need a generally more controlled environment; I could use a real car and use a different material of a runway. I would also look at all the possible variables including the mass. This would be great as I could plot graphs against each other making a fair test having a lot more data.

In my preliminary experiment I have only taken ten results, because it is a plan and I have only looked at one affecting factor the speed. In the real investigation I will take a total of 32 results. I will obtain 2 results for each experiment and can then get an answer by averaging both results.

There were some results that were correct to my prediction. Most of them can be explained. In the graph of speed against distance, there is obviously good results at the beginning, but then as the bottom of the ramp gets steeper, it starts to affect the distance greatly.

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