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Investigate the force required to pull a running shoe/trainer whilst increasing the mass of it.

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Physics Coursework

As part of our Physics coursework we were asked to investigate the force required to pull a running shoe/trainer whilst increasing the mass of it. We were provided with the relevant apparatus and given the necessary instructions from our teacher.

The objective of the experiment was to obtain a set of results from which we would be able to understand the relationship between force and mass and the effect of variables on the same.


1. Neutron metre

2. Length of string

3. 20x100g masses

5. Shoe/Trainer

6. Clamp stands x 2

7. A single metal bar

8. Bosses x 2

Factors considered when planning the experiment.

1. To see how to load the trainer i.e. where to place the masses to ensure the shoe stays in contact with the surface.

2. How to ‘pull’ the shoe safely.

3. How many masses to use i.e. how many fit in the shoe.

4. The range of masses i.e. maximum safe mass.

5. Which forcemetre is suitable.

6. How and where to attach the forcemetre.

...read more.



Constant Variables

To make this experiment a fair test the following variables must be kept constant throughout the experiment

Ø Area of shoe in contact with surface

Ø The slope of surface

Ø The length of string

Ø Type of surface under shoe

Ø Thickness of tread of sole of shoe

Ø Nature of shoe surface in contact with surface under shoe

Changing Variables -

The weight of the overall shoe and the force applied to the shoe.

Dependent Variable -

Pulling force.

Independent Variable -

Mass of shoe.


Statement: ‘The greater the mass of the shoe, the greater the force required to move the shoe.’ This is because increasing the mass will increase the friction between the shoe and the bench (this is because the surfaces are being pushed together).

If smooth looking surfaces are examined under a high power microscope, their actual roughness can be seen. They only touch where their high spots meet.

The high spots that are touching tend to stick together. The limiting friction is the force needed to separate these high spots.

...read more.


I could not get a continuous balanced pull on the trainer, so the trainer kept moving at different angles and suddenly jerking.
  • The weights inside the trainer kept moving as the trainer was in motion.

On my graph I have some anomalous results I have marked these down as points A and B these results did not really fit in with the rest and my line of best fit, although the others more or less did.

I should have definitely repeated my results to try and get a similarity between the two and to back both results up. However, I did not achieve this through lack of time. This related to a minimal amount of results. To perform a reliable experiment I should have obtained more results and spent more time examining them.

There is a small resemblance between all of my results as the larger the weight put into the shoe the higher the force of Newton’s required.

The main thing I would comment on is that I wish that I could have had more time to perform my experiment and obtain more results.

...read more.

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