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Investigating how far a car travels after rolling down a slope.

Extracts from this document...


William Pearson

Investigating how far a car travels after

rolling down a slope.

        I know that if factors are changed the car will travel a different distance after leaving the ramp.

Background Knowledge

There are many factors that can affect this distance.

  1. The weight of the car – this will affect the gravitational potential energy of the vehicle, therefore when the vehicle is released the amount of kinetic energy the car has will differ.
  1. Surface area of the wheels on the surface – this will affect the amount of frictional energy produced as the greater the surface the greater the friction and the lesser the distance.
  1. The surface texture – this will also affect the frictional forces produced.
  1. The slope angle – as this is a factor affecting the amount of gravitational energy produced this will affect the distance the vehicle travels in the same way the first point does.
  1. The slope length – this will give the vehicle a longer distance to accelerate therefore it will have greater potential energy to carry it a longer distance.
  1. The aerodynamics of the vehicle – the less aerodynamic the vehicle the shorter the distance it will travel.


...read more.


Replace the car at the top of the ramp.Carry out the experiment 3 times for each height/weight to gather a reliable set of results.

Preliminary Work:

        As I have already stated above I am going to investigate what effect the angle (height) of the ramp will have on the distance that the car travels after it has left the slope.

Here are the results I gathered:



        After looking at the results I have decided to put the ramp at the highest angle so I can get a good, accurate and reliable set of results.


        To make this experiment safe I will warn people before I release the car so that people will not trip on it.

Fair Test:

        To make the experiment fair there are several facts that I must keep the same:

  1. I must keep the height of the ramp the same.
  2. The surface the car runs on must be the same.
  3. The surface area of the car wheels must be the same.
  4. The length of the ramp must be kept the same as well.


...read more.


  • I would use a more substantial ramp so there was no chance of the ramp height changing under the weight of the heavy car. (as this could have been one of the factors that caused the heavier vehicles to go not as far as I predicted)
  • I would use better measuring equipment, such as a radar system to measure the exact distance the vehicle travels after it has left the ramp.
  • I would carry out the experiment out in more controlled conditions to eliminate as many of the varying factors which could effect the outcome of my results, such as friction and aerodynamics.

After studying the results I have found that the results that I collected are not accurate and reliable enough to gather a firm, scientific conclusion. Even though I carried out the experiments to a high standard there are still improvements that need to be carried out to get a more reliable set of results.  These points are stated above.

        If I would do the experiments again I would further my investigations by perhaps studying the effect of different surfaces for the vehicle to travel over, also I would do this experiment again to try and confirm that the results that I gathered were correct.

...read more.

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