• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10

Investigation into the range of a ski jump

Extracts from this document...


Investigation into the range of a ski jump


The task is to investigate into the range of a ski jump based upon two variables, h1 and h2. Using knowledge of projectile motion investigate how the ramp height and drop height affect the range of a marble released from the ramp.


This is a diagram of the basic equipment setup.

First thoughts:

This investigation has much room for expansion on the original above setup. The accuracy can be improved using a combination of more sensitive measuring equipment and a more accurate measuring setup.  A formula linking h1, h2 and the range will be produced and will be linked to the graph that will be plotted alongside the practical experiment.


Velocity = displacement


Displacement = velocity x time

This equation allows the calculation of the range, so velocity and time must now be found.

m=mass, kg


h1=height1, m

h2=height2, m

v=velocity, ms-¹

s=displacement (the range), m

u=initial velocity, ms-¹

t=time, s

a=acceleration (also g in this case), ms-²


Assuming no energy is lost, potential energy is equal to kinetic energy.

PE=KE                                (PE or GPE= mgΔh1)

mgΔh1=½mv²                        (KE=½mv²)

mgΔh1mv²                        Masses cancel

½v²=gΔh1                        x2, √



Using s=ut+½at² and looking in the vertical direction.


s=0+½at²                        0 vertical velocity

h2=½at²                        a=g

h2=½gt²                        x2, √

t=√(2h2 /g)

Now the two equations can be combined to produce one equation, in the form:

displacement = velocity x time

R=√(2h1g) x √(2h2 /g)                g cancels

R=√(2h1) x √(2h2)

R=√(4h1 h2)

Experimental setup:


A diagram of the chosen apparatus set-up



A diagram detailing the release mechanism and method of recording



A diagram detailing the method of recording


  1. Before the experiment is setup, all equipment is tested.
...read more.


R (√R²)














































A graph of h1 against R² will be plotted using the above-predicted results alongside my actual results. This will enable me a direct comparison between the two.

Time plan:

- One hour will be spent performing the experiment.

- It will take 20mins to setup all the apparatus

- 30mins to take results, including disaster time (in case things go wrong)

- 10mins to pack away apparatus


A range of h1, from 5cm to 45cm will be recorded in 5cm intervals.

The range will be recorded from approximately 0cm-150cm

H2 will be measured before beginning the experiment, as it is a constant.


Unreliable results are caused by random error. When a single recording is made the result may not be the true result, it may be close, but due to experimental circumstances (for example the ball is blown slightly off course) there is an error in that particular result. Therefore repetitions of the experiment will allow these errors to be spread evenly around the correct value. Giving a true impression of the answer.


Few results are recorded giving a false impression of the correlation.

Many results are recorded giving the true result.


This concerns the accuracy of the equipment. In this experiment say, for example, that a microscope is used to read the values from the ruler accurately. The low power microscope allows the scientist to distinguish to an accuracy of ±0.1mm, but the ruler markings are only accurate themselves to ±1mm. This means that a compound error is formed and shows why appropriate measuring methods should be used in conjunction with measuring equipment.

In this case an attempt to improve accuracy only serves to waste time and equipment. Appropriate equipment must be applied in each situation.


...read more.


Therefore if the ramp is uneven and the ball doesn’t travel down the middle of the ramp, range will be lost, producing less accurate results.

In future experiments it would be sensible to use a combination of a spirit level and careful measuring to ensure the ball travels straight down the ramp. A more restricting track would be another option, it would mean the ball follows a set path.

Another factor affecting the speed of the ball is the way in which it travels down the ramp. It could slide or skid instead of rolling meaning that the ball is not gaining rotational kinetic energy and losing its potential energy as it should. Instead it is falling, resulting in an incomplete energy transfer, so the ball doesn’t reach maximum speed when leaving the ramp. This effect may be reduced using a ramp with a more gripping surface.

Even the smallest factors can contribute to an overall large effect. Sound energy caused by friction between the ramp and ball can reduce the amount of energy the ball has as it leaves the ramp. Sound energy is a factor that cannot be removed easily, unless working in a vacuum where sound waves cannot travel. But it is such a small factor that it is unlikely that it would affect the results in any considerable way.

Next time:

If this investigation were to be repeated, a different approach would be adopted. More care would be taken to ensure that the above factors were minimised. Many more results would be taken to provide a more reliable end result and fairness would be looked into seriously.

A light gate setup could be used to check the speeds at which the ball leaves the ramp, this result could then be considered with the mass and used to calculate the kinetic energy (KE=½mv²). The gravitational potential energy could also be calculated (GPE=mgΔh1) and the energy loss calculated.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Forces and Motion section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Forces and Motion essays

  1. The experiment consisted of recording the results of a small toy car being allowed ...

    the car is accelerating, which is expected. As it continues along the ramp, the car's acceleration decreases to quite close to zero and the car's velocity hits the highest speed on the ramp at about 1.1 ms-1. This can be seen on the graph as the gradient of the velocity

  2. Investigating Impact Craters

    increases (up to 90 degrees) whereas cos? decreases, making the horizontal component decrease and the vertical component increase. Experiment Five - Keep the drop angle constant and vary the vertical height. An angle of 20 degrees was chosen for this experiment. Once again the same 16.6g ball was used.

  1. Investigate and measure the speed of a ball rolling down a ramp.

    * Squash Ball (24.43 grams) * Stop Watch (2.d.p accuracy) * Building Blocks that are 8.2 cm in height each. Prediction I predict that the increase in the ramps angle is proportional to the speed of the ball. So if the angle increases the speed of the ball increases too.

  2. Investigate a factor that might affect the size of a crater made by a ...

    for a fair test and accurate results. * Repeat results three times at least starting from 0.5m again in order to calculate an average. Tip: For safety reasons be careful when using all lab equipment. Even though this experiment is not really dangerous be careful in the lab area, do

  1. Practical Investigation Into Viscosity

    0.23 0.227 50-70 0.22 0.22 0.22 0.220 Experiment 1.2 The second part of the first experiment measured the time taken for five differently sized ball bearings to descend through water. The purpose of this part of the experiment was to make it more clear how surface area and mass* affects the rate of descent.

  2. This investigation is associated with the bounce of a squash ball. I will be ...

    The same balls are conditioned first to 23oC and then to 45oC and dropped from a height of 100 inches onto a concrete floor (which in both cases must be at 21-25oC). At 23oC the balls must rebound at least 12 inches; at 45oC between 26 and 33 inches.

  1. Investigation into factors affecting the speed of a car rolling down a ramp

    With this in mind, if the height of the ramp is then increased to 2x then the GPE will be doubled, and so the kinetic energy will double. In addition to this I can make a prediction mathematically using the following formula: GPE = m x g x h KE = 1/2 x m x v2 ?

  2. Squash Ball and Temperature Investigation

    To make the test fair, both balls were heated at the same temperature (so that both balls were supplied with the same heat energy), the temperature they were heated at was measured accurately with a thermometer and both balls were tested 10 times each so that the results could be fairly compared.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work