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Investigate how mass affects the diameter of an impact crater.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

PHYSICS COURSEWORK
ASTEROIDS

Asteroids, also known as small or minor planets are irregular bodies that vary in size and composition. They are usually found in the inner solar system among planets and primarily move in indirect orbits between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, however some orbit relatively nearby to Earth. This is the prime concern with asteroids; where in the past collision with Earth has had tremendous affects and possibility of future collisions will always exist. This concern has been popularised in many forms and everyday the rate of technology intended to reduce the impact of any likely future asteroid collision is expanding. In order to demonstrate an increase or decrease in the impact of an asteroid, measurable by its crater size, my outcome variable is: How a chosen factor affects the diameter of an impact crater.

There are many factors that have a form of influence to the affect of an asteroid collision:

Mass – The gravitational potential energy stored by an object is significantly determined by the amount of matter an object contains. As the mass of an object increases, the potential increases, hence the kinetic energy increases causing an increase in the size of impact.

Speed – The speed the asteroid is travelling at will have a major affect on the impact of the crater. Crater size increases with increasing speed.

Height – The speed of the asteroid is dependant on the height at which it is falling. Therefore these two variables are linked.

...read more.

Middle

DIRECTED SURFACE

MASS (G)

CRATER SIZE (MM)

1

2

3

Mean

20

Fine aquarium gravel

Golf ball (42)

65

64

63

64

40

Fine aquarium gravel

Golf ball (42)

86

86

87

86.33

60

Fine aquarium gravel

Golf ball (42)

93

93

92

92.66

The table shows that as the height at which the ball is dropped from increases the crater size also increases. However from the preliminary work I have decided that I will keep a constant height larger than the ones tested. This is so more disperse results will be produced which will make the results clearer in order to notice any trends.

Varying directed surface

DIRECTED SURFACE

HEIGHT (CM)

MASS (G)

CRATER SIZE (MM)

1

2

3

Mean

Fine aquarium gravel

50

Golf ball (42)

91

91

92

91.33

Silver sand

50

Golf ball (42)

93

94

93

93.33

Fine sand

50

Golf ball (42)

94

94

94

94

As can be seen from the table, there is not much difference between the crater sizes produced when the golf ball is dropped into different directed surfaces. However if my intervals of height were higher then more disperse results would most likely be produced.

Varying mass

MASS (G)

HEIGHT (CM)

DIRECTED SURFACE

CRATER SIZE (MM)

1

2

3

Mean

Ping pong (2.6)

50

Fine aquarium gravel

42

42

40

41.33

Plasticine (29.1)

50

Fine aquarium gravel

64

62

63

63

Golf ball (42)

50

Fine aquarium gravel

92

93

92

92.33

As can be seen from the table, mass has a significant affect on the crater size.

Amongst the balls I was to experiment during my preliminary was a steel ball, however initial testing showed that the ball sunk right into the directed surface which would have made it difficult to measure accurately.

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Conclusion

  1. Without putting any pressure on the ball, remove it from the surface.
  1. Finally using a vernier caliper measure the diameter of the created crater. The results of this should be recorded into the results table.
  1. In order to produce the most accurate results possible, repeat stages 3-8 twice more using the same mass of plasticine. However it is required the mass of plasticine is measured again as this may have changed during the first recording.
  1. Repeat the whole experiment again but stage 3 should be altered so the mass of plasticine is 5g heavier than the one before. This procedure should continue until you have recorded final results for 35g.

Safety is not a major factor to take into consideration. However it is optional to wear safety goggles in order to avoid a rare occasion of any fine aquarium gravel coming into contact with eyes. And as usual general safety will need to be carried out by placing bags away from the area used for the experiment and ensure the desk is cleared of all books and stationary.

RESULTS:

PLASTICINE MASS (G)

HEIGHT (CM)

DIRECTED SURFACE

CRATER SIZE (MM)

1

2

3

MEAN

5

100

Fine aquarium gravel

31

32

31

31.33

10

100

Fine aquarium gravel

35

36

35

35.33

15

100

Fine aquarium gravel

39

38

40

38

20

100

Fine aquarium gravel

44

46

45

45

25

100

Fine aquarium gravel

51

50

52

51

30

100

Fine aquarium gravel

53

57

61

57

35

100

Fine aquarium gravel

55

67

63

61.66

I found that altering the size of the plasticine to match the required range was time consuming and at times recordings had to be repeated as the mass wasn’t accurate. However using plasticine gave me additional independent control than I would have had if I used a range of different balls.

...read more.

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