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Investigating Stopping Distances

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Investigating Stopping Distances I am investigating the stopping distance of a car rolled down a ramp. The factors affecting stopping distances are; * The mass of the car will affect the stopping distance of the car due to the effects of friction that will increase as the mass of the car increases. * Speed of the toy car affects the stopping distance. * Air resistance will affect the stopping distance. * The surface on which the car is to stop on will effect the stopping distance * Also all other frictional forces will affect the car like the surface area of the tyres on the car. The friction between the axle and the chassis. * Gravity, although I will be unable to vary this in my investigation, it would affect the friction between the car and the road. * I will vary the height of the ramp using the blocks, which in turn will vary the speed of the car. I will measure d that will be equal and kept constant at 100mm. Therefore to find the speed of the car I will use the formula: Speed = Distance (d) of card / time on light gate Then I will measure the stopping distance from the base of the ramp. I will repeat the readings 3 times and find the average stopping distance over 8 different speeds. ...read more.


The car would have a piece of card to attach it so the light gate would be able to sense this change. The speed could be changed by the height of the ramp. The measurements will be speed in m/s whilst the distance was in cm. The preliminary results were a basis of the range I was going to use. We decided from this we would use the smallest height of 10cm, 15cm, 20cm, 25cm, 30cm, 35cm, 40cm and to the largest height of 45cm. We will repeat each height 3 times and will have two solutions speed - required from the Psion and distance - measured from the ruler as soon as it left the base. Results Height (cm) Distance (cm) Speed (m/s) 1 2 3 Av 1 2 3 Av Av^2 10 16.7 17 16.8 16.8 0.415 0.428 0.424 0.42 0.178 15 30.5 34.5 33.3 32.8 0.572 0.598 0.589 0.59 0.344 20 42.5 46 47 45.2 0.66 0.702 0.675 0.68 0.461 25 56.5 60.5 59.5 58.8 0.757 0.785 0.766 0.77 0.592 30 64 67.5 69 66.8 0.803 0.816 0.803 0.81 0.652 35 71.5 74.5 73.5 73.2 0.849 0.857 0.857 0.85 0.730 40 84 85.5 85.5 85.0 0.873 0.868 0.865 0.87 0.755 45 101.5 103 104.5 103.0 0.911 0.962 0.982 0.95 0.906 Conclusion From the results that I have got I have found my predictions to be quite good, as the lines on the graphs are similar to what I predicted. ...read more.


Another part of the method that needs to be improved is the act of measuring the stopped distance of the car. This also was done by hand which could cause significant error because of the inaccuracies involved with looking down at the ruler and reading off a value. To improve the point made about releasing the car I would set up some sort of clamp with a solenoid to release the car electronically therefore eliminating any human error. Also stopping distance could be measured electronically by using several hundred tiny lasers or light gates set up in millimetre intervals, just like a ruler along the area where the car would run. Or there could be tiny magnets set up along the ruler and a reed switch attached to the side of the car and as it passed along side the ruler depending on how many times the reed switch was broken it would calculate a distance. Then a measurement could be digitally read of a display, which would eliminate any human error in looking at a ruler. But these ideas are far too unpractical to do at school and would be very time consuming to set-up. Also to improve on the height adjustment of the ramp could be done using pneumatic pistons to lift the ramp up and down to the exact height wanted. ...read more.

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