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Investigate how far a margarine tub goes when fired, with a varying amount of weight in the tub.

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Physics Investigation- Firing a Margarine Tub

Aim: I am going to investigate how far a margarine tub goes when fired, with a varying amount of weight in the tub.

Prediction: I predict that if you double the weight in the tub the distance it goes will half. It will do this because the more weight in the tub there is the more friction there will be between the surface and the tub. The more friction there is the less time and distance it takes for the kinetic energy to transfer into heat energy.


  • I will place the elastic band around the stool legs, and mark the place where I want it to be pulled back to. We will pull it back ten cm because I think that this is a good amount so that the elastic band isn’t stretched too much.
  • I will place the tub in front of the band. At first, it will have no weights inside, the weights will be increased by 100 g each time the tub is fired. We decided on a range of 100g to 900g because I thought that this would be enough to be able to analyse different stages within the test.
  • I will place the ruler alongside the stool and our surface.
  • My partner will sit on the stool, and I will pull back the tub and band to the marked place, and then I will let go.
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I will then measure the distance it went.
  • I will then add 100g to the tub and repeat the previous steps.
  • I will repeat the whole experiment three times to ensure that my results are accurate.

Fair Test:

I am making this a fair test by keeping everything the same apart from the mass. It is important to do this because my results will be affected if anything changes. I will keep the surface the same because different surfaces will cause varying amounts of friction. The elastic band has to stay the same because the different bands will have different amounts of energy. The person pulling back the band will stay the same because the amount of strength, energy, and technique will differ depending on the person. How far the

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I measured the distances quite accurately, I always measured from the back of the tub and measured to the nearest cm. There is always room to be more accurate, I could have measured to the nearest half cm and so on. I think my results were fairly reliable because almost everything was kept the same, if I repeated the experiment I think I would get similar results.

When the 100g Mass had been fired in the tub, on one occasion it went 195cm and when the same was done with the 200g mass the distance shot down to 120cm. I was surprised by the gap in distance, because as you go further into the experiment the results get much closer together. Although I did get some unexpected results I think the experiment went well because it was fair and accurate.

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