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Investigate to see if adding mass to a cupcake case will increase the speed at which the case falls, in air.

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Luke Henry

Science Coursework


Investigate to see if adding mass to a cupcake case will increase the speed at which the case falls, in air.


Key Variables

  • Drag, or air resistance, is a force that is a variable that can affect the accuracy of the results that we will get.






  • Mass is a key variable too.
  • Wind currents are a key variable.
  • The height from which the cupcake cases are dropped.

Background Knowledge

Acceleration:  Is the change in velocity of an object per unit time.  This happens when two unbalanced forces act on each other.

Force: The force of weight makes any given object fall towards the earth’s centre.  As the object falls it accelerates, because of its weight, till it reaches a speed, were it does not accelerate any more because the forces acting on each other; drag and the weight; become balanced, this is known as terminal velocity.  Here are a few formulas that I know form previous encounters with this subject:

F = m * a        image14.png

A = Change in velocity / time taken

A = F / a

A = V / (a * t)





The air resistance force, otherwise known as drag, acts in the exact opposite direction to the gravitational force (which acts towards the centre of the earth).  

When the object hits the ground, the forces of the object that it lands on and the gravitational force, balance out which causes that object stay in a set position.

Previously, in measuring acceleration I measured the acceleration of a car; I used the following formula to find the rate at which the car accelerated:

Acceleration=change in velocity/time taken

...read more.





Time (sec):





Test 2:

We then added two more cupcake cases to the results to see if we can notice anything that may stand out.

4 cupcake cases from 2.5 meters






Time (sec):





5 cupcake cases from 2.5 meters






Time (sec):





As you can see from the results above, they are not very accurate and because they are not very accurate I cannot use them for the final test.  I will try several different methods to see if I can find some result that would be suitable for the experiment.  

Test 3:

We will increase the mass by adding 2 cupcake cases every time.  We will start with two cupcake cases and repeat the experiment until we reach 10 cupcake cases.  We will drop the cases from 2.5 meters and using a stopwatch, will record how long it takes the cupcake case to hit the floor from the time it leaves my hand.

Test 4:

        I will weigh the cupcake cases and repeat the previous experiment.  According to the structure going up by two.  I will do this to see if the cupcake cases are of different masses.

Test 5:

I will change the height from which we drop the cupcake cases from 2.5 meters to 2 meters.  I will use the same method as I did in the second test.

Comment on the results

I believe that the most accurate method that we used was the method in the third test, as it seemed to be the best way of getting the results.  In the first test we saw that the results fluctuated too much.

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Secondly not every cupcake will necessarily weigh the same.  Although is shows all of the cupcakes weighing the same on the balance they theoretically speaking to not weigh the same to the thousandth.  The reason that these results are not 100% perfect can never be solved, unless we are given advanced computerised equipment to perform the experiment.  

I have predicted that I would come up with results that are very similar to mine.  I knew that the greater the gravitational potential energy the time in which it takes for the cupcake case to hit the ground would be greater.  I predicted that that there would be more air resistance when there is less cupcakes.  This prediction was wrong.  There is more air resistance as the mass of the cases increases.

I have come to the conclusion that the majority of my predictions have been correct.  There have been faults in my tests but many of the faults I can blame on the earth, (e.g. wind).  If I were to change anything to make my results more reliable I would increase the amount of times that I perform each test.  I have learnt many things from performing these tests and have become more aware of why things fall at the speed they do.

...read more.

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