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Investigating how the height of a runway affects the average speed of a trolley.

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28802.doc         (Ms. Robinson RB)        28/04/2007

Physics Investigation: Investigating how the height of a runway affects the average speed of a trolleyimage00.png





The aim of this experiment is to show how the height of a ramp, which a trolley rolls down, will affect its run off speed.image11.png


¤   Height                                                                                       ¤   Weight                                                                                       ¤   Surfaceimage12.png


The preliminary experiment I did prior to the investigation enabled me to choose what factors of the investigation I should keep the same or alter. My results from the preliminary displayed that I should perform the following procedures:

The heights that allow the trolley to go down the ramp at a suitable velocity and whereabouts on the ramp I would allow the trolley to go from in-order to make the test fair and the speed accurate. I found out in the preliminary that 0.05m would be to low a height to begin with and that the trolley would not move fast enough therefore would not reach the end of the 1m run way causing a break in my results.  Then also that if I suspended the ramp higher than 0.5m it was too high, and again I would not be able to gather any results as the trolley would be going to fast.

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So if Max GPE = Max KE
I can now work out the velocity by using the following formula:                               velocity = distance/time.  


As the height of the ramp is increased there are changes in the GPE and the KE.        
        However as correct as my predicted results are my actual results will not be exactly like those due to friction. They may be quite similar to the results I got when the ramp is set at a low incline, as the acceleration will be faster meaning less friction will be acting on the trolley. However as the height is raised the trolleys velocity increases and the friction will exert a stronger force on the object and will act as a resistance slowing the trolley down causing some of the energy, which I have predicted to be "lost".
        Therefore I predict my results to be slightly lower than the ones predicted, as the height increases the results will even out and won’t be as far spaced apart.



Apparatus: image12.png

In the duration of the experiment I will use the following apparatus:
¤   2 x 1m rulers
¤   A ramp / runway
¤   Clamp
¤   Scales
¤   Trolley
¤   Tickertape Vibrator
¤   Ticker Tape
¤   Power pack
¤   Files and paper


Method: image02.png

To perform this experiment, I will work on my own as this will make the experiment less complex.

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There are no real safety issues to worry about, however to be certain that there are no injuries, I will make sure everyone's ramps are well spaced apart, to prevent any trolleys colliding into anyone and that my ramp is very stable to prevent it collapsing and hurting someone’s foot.image08.png

Background Information:

Newton’s law’s of motion:-

  1. “Every object remains at rest or continues to move in a straight line at a constant speed unless acted on by a force.”
  2. “When a force does act on an object, the object will accelerate (or decelerate). The value of the acceleration is proportional to the size of the force.”
  3. “To every action there is an equal or opposite reaction.”

Formulas I might use:-

  1. a=∆v/t (acceleration = change in velocity divided by time)
  2. F=ma (force = mass multiplied by acceleration)
  3. v=d/t (velocity = distance divided by time)

To calculate acceleration "a"image17.png

a  = Change in velocity (m/s)

           time taken (s)

    =   velocity strip 6 – velocity strip 1 (m/s)

                   time from 1 to 6 (s)

    = (10 x L6) – (10 x L1) (m/s)

                  0.5 (s)





Physics 4 You

Science Exercise Book








        Microsoft Encarta 98

        Microsoft Encarta 2002

© Copyright Prabu Singh England 2003, All rights reserved.                

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