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Investigate how the height of a ramp effects the speed of a bearing ball that is dropped form the top of the ramp.

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Kanti Tjahjono

Ball Bearing Speed Record


        I am going to investigate how the height of a ramp effects the speed of a bearing ball that is dropped form the top of the ramp.

        I predict that the higher the ramp, the faster the ball will go. I think this is because as the ramp goes higher, the ball will be dropped higher, therefore there will be more gravitation potential energy the ball will have, making the ball goes faster as it will be transferred into kinetic energy toward the end.

        To back this theory, I will calculate the speed of the ball, (speed = distance – time). Also I will calculate the gravitation potential energy, (mass x gravity x height) and also the kinetic energy, (1/2 x mass x speed). I will use the results of the calculation to compare and to see if my prediction is correct.

        I will use the following equipments for my experiment:

  • A ball bearing
  • A ramp
  • A stopwatch (to time)
  • A ruler (to measure the heights of the ramp)
  • A scale (to weigh the ball bearing)


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To make this experiment more accurate, I will do each experiment three times, then I will do the average for the speed. I will need to make sure that I have the same equipments if I would do this experiment on two different days. If I am going to this experiment on different day, I will need to make sure that the ball bearing is the weight and that the same person would do it, e.g. the person that is dropping the ball and the person that times it have to be the same. This so that my experiment is a fair test. And also I need to do at a room temperature, if the whether is too hot, the ball will be going faster as the ramp has some moist.


  1. Measure every cm up the side of the ramp to mark where to move it each time.
  2. Clamp the ramp to the wood.
  3. Move the ramp to the cm to want it to be.
  4. Let the ball go. Be sure not to push it.
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        And also at 6cm, the first timing wasn’t as accurate because the three times were spread out, 1.29s, 1.41s, 135s. This is just an example.  I think this is because the person who timed this might press the start/stop button to quickly or to slower. This happens quite a lot of time.

        As I have said in my conclusion, my results does proved my prediction and support my conclusion.

        If I was to do this experiment again, I will make sure that the person who drop the ball don’t give extra push and I would have done it more than three time.

        I could extend my experiment by perhaps looking at the mass of the ball bearing – different mass to see if it affects the speed or looking at the materials of the ball bearing.

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