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Investigation into cars going down slopes

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Name: Leanne Kennedy

Investigation into cars going down slopes

1) Variables

  1. The material and surface of the slope
  2. Gradient of the slope (height)
  3. Type of car – weight, height and the size of the car etc.
  4. Whether you give the car a push as you release it
  5. Height of the car up the slope.

2) The variable, that I am going to investigate, is the height of the car up the slope.

3) Prediction

     My prediction of what I will think will happen is that as the car is placed higher up the slope, then this will give the car more potential energy. Then as the car is released it will have morekinetic energy allowing the car to go faster & further along the run-out. Therefore I predict that the height will be proportional to the velocity squared (speed).

4)The scientificreason for my prediction


                                                       B                                                       C

  • The velocity at A will be 0 as the car isn’t moving but the car however has very high potential energy at A.

...read more.


(This can be written as ½ mv  )

So now the whole of the cars energy =kinetic energy + potential energy

  At A on the diagram the potential energy (mgh) is equal to the kinetic energy (½ mv  ) at B.

The equation for this is:

mgh = ½ mvTherefore the two Ms will cancel out and leave the new equation as  h = v   - As you can see here h is proportional to v


It is also correct to say that the maximum velocity of the car will be at B.

The average velocity is calculated as: DISTANCE  


-So from this equation 2x this will simply give the Maximum velocity and again squaring this value will give you the maximum velocity squared

5) Method for doing my investigation


                                                              B                                                   C

Set up experiment is set up exactly as it is in my prediction.

  1. Firstly, place the car with the front wheels on the line you are starting from.
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height and up the side of the graph is the Velocity squared. From knowing that the height is proportional to the velocity squared the graph should look something like this-

If there are any anomalous results then these should be repeated again.

At the start of our investigation the car we used was giving us unreliable results and so we decided to do the whole investigation from the beginning but with a different car and also with a different person doing the timing .We definitely made the right decision as we then got better results. From these results we found that the line of best fit on the graph showed a positive correlation, which is what we wanted. However the results weren’t quite right so we re-tested them and found we got better, more reliable results that we could then work from. From the new results we plotted them on a graph and found that what we got was perfect and agreed with our prediction at the start.

...read more.

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