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Investigating the speed of a toy car travelling down a ramp

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Investigating the speed of a toy car travelling down a ramp


I am going to see how the mass of the car affects the average speed of a toy car travelling down a ramp.


I think that as the mass of the car increases, the average speed of the toy car will decrease.  

I think this will occur because as you increase the mass of the toy car the forces acting against the toy car will also increase i.e. friction therefore decreasing the car’s speed.  This would produce a graph like this (roughly):



As the mass increases, the speed decreases.  This is shown above on the graph, it is a curve as I think there must be a point where the speed can no longer be affected by the mass.  You also can’t have negative speeds so eventually even if you increased the mass, the speed would remain constant.


In order to carry out this investigation I will need the following:

  • 1 toy car
  • 1g weights
  • 1 metre ruler
  • 30 cm ruler, to measure height of clamp stand.
  • 2 x clamp stands
  • 1 light gate
  • 1 laptop to record the data collected
  • A ramp
  • Scales to ensure the weight is actually accurate
  • Card
  • Blu-tak
  • Pre-made tables to record data

Fair Testing:

...read more.





  1. Set the ramp up 25cm from the work surface
  2. Set the light gate at 90cm from the second clamp stand i.e. the clamp stand holding the ramp up 25cm from the work surface.
  3. Set up the laptop to record the data collected.
  4. Set up “crash zone” area for car


  1. Weigh the car on the scales along with some blu-tak and the card.  Make sure the total weight comes to 25g, you can add and remove blu-tak
  2. Blu-tak the card to the car.
  3. Making sure the recording software is on; place the car 10cm from the end of the ramp (90cm from the beginning as the ramp is equal to 100cm).
  4. Let the car roll down the ramp – making sure not to apply any force to the car.
  5. Repeat this three times and take an average.
  6. Record the data in an example table as shown below.
  7. Add 1g in weight and repeat the experiment until the maximum weight is obtained i.e. 35g.

Example Table:

















I must remember to highlight any anomalies that I find and repeat them so as to make my results accurate.


...read more.


My original prediction was:

I think that as the mass of the car increases, the average speed of the toy car will decrease.

From the evidence I have obtained I don’t think there is enough evidence to support my prediction, even though the trendline does tend to suggest that there is a negative correlation i.e. that as the mass increases the speed decrease – which would support my prediction.

When working out the speed of an object, we take into count two things, the distance and the time.  Mass is not mentioned.  Therefore mass not being in the equation for speed suggests that mass does not affect it as such.


I think in order to improve this piece of work I would have to have more masses in order to draw a solid, final conclusion.  I produced a set of results that were accurate and gave me suitable data.  The anomalous result was accounted for and corrected.  The method was as fair as possible as it was being done in a school laboratory.  The only thing I would change is getting a wider range of results.

Francesca Tate 10D

...read more.

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