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Investigation of the speed of a trolley down a ramp and its gradient

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Investigation of the speed of a trolley down a ramp and its gradient

        In this investigation I will be testing how the speed of the trolley is affected by the gradient of the ramp. The speed of the trolley will be affected by the gradient of the ramp by many factors. One of these factors is gravitational potential energy. GPE is the energy stored in an object because of its height. The energy is stored as a result of the gravitational pull of the earth for the object. GPE is also affected by the mass of the object but I am going to use the same trolley. I am going to increase the gradient of the ramp and therefore increase the height of the trolley. The higher the trolley is on the ramp, the more GPE it should have and this energy will be transferred to kinetic energy when the trolley is released from the top.

Gravitational potential energy = mass x gravitational field strength x height moved

        The trolley moves so it has gained kinetic energy.

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Predictions: Based on the preliminary work I predict that the acceleration of the trolley will increase when the gradient of the ramp is increased.

Risks: There aren’t any major risks in carrying out this experiment but a few precautions need to be taken such as making sure that there is no one near the end

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The results show that my prediction was right and that the acceleration of the trolley down a ramp increases as the height of the ramp is increased.


The experiment was done quite well and the results gathered were accurate and repeatable. The accuracy of the acceleration should be very accurate as it was done by a computer but the height of the ramp was measured and set up by me so the accuracy of the heights may be a little varied as it was done by a human but the results are still very accurate. I did not have any anomalous results probably because the trolley was rolled down the ramp from exactly the same point and the computer didn’t make any errors. The experiment could have been improved by using more accurate measuring instruments and reducing the chance of human error. The experiment could have been extended if I carried out more runs for one height to find a more accurate average and also I could have tested more heights to see if the trend is the same.

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