• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Investigation to find how friction and changing variables affect the length an object travels.

Extracts from this document...


Physics Coursework

Investigation to find how friction and changing variables affect the length an object travels


  My aim is to investigate, when changing a variable, how far an object can travel, and how the variable I change affects this distance. I will demonstrate this by using a margarine tub, and push it across a table with the help of an elastic band. The range of variables I could change is wide. Firstly, I could modify the amount of force in newtons that I apply on the elastic band. The larger amount of force I employed on the tub, the further it would travel. I could alter the mass of the margarine tub, or its shape, size or surface area. I could alter the size or strength of elastic band, or the finish of the table, resulting in an increase or decrease of friction acting against the tub.


  After carrying out a preliminary experiment, I have decided to change one variable, the mass of the margarine tub. It is important that I do not change any other variable at any time during the experiment. The pilot experiment also taught me to use the margarine tub facing downwards, so just the outside rim of the tub faced down, giving a low surface area to be combated by friction.

...read more.



Elastic Band

Margarine Tub

Assortment of Masses

Metre Stick X 2


Table X 2

Here is a diagram of the full set of apparatus and how it will be structured:


  1. I set out the equipment as shown earlier.
  2. I faced the margarine tub face down and pulled it back, using the elastic band, 85mm, marking the distance with chalk. I recorded the empty tub’s distance travelled 3 times. I ensured a fair test by using a metre stick to measure, in parallel, the distance the tub had travelled.
  3. I added a 20g mass to the tub, repeating the previous step.
  4. I added 20g masses until I had recorded 8 results, including the empty tub.


...read more.



The evidence obtained, mostly very accurate, included one certainly anomalous result, and another narrowly inaccurate. The procedure used in the investigation was obviously successful in the majority, yet I could have controlled the investigation more accurately be making sure not to change any other variables at all. The main factor for the inaccuracy of some of the results was probably that I did not always look at the tub in parallel when releasing it. The accuracy could have been improved by doing this, and also by taking the results 5 times then recording an average result. I could have used larger changes in masses to highlight more distinctive intervals in distance the tub travels, making it easier to pinpoint anomalous results. The evidence is, however, sufficient to support a conclusion, as only one or two results did not fit the trend, in this case, the curve. The possibility of anomalous results was a factor leading me to take 7 results. Improvements to provide additional evidence for the conclusion could be to change the variable altered in the experiment, for example, I could use a Newton meter to change the force acting upon the tub when released, acting as an extra aspect of evidence to add to the conclusion.

...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. How does the weight of an object affect the friction it has on the ...

    When dynamic friction is acting, another force must be present to keep the object moving. In the case of a falling object, the force is gravity. How Newton's Second law of Motion is related Newton's 2nd law states simply that: Force= mass acceleration Or F=ma Where friction is present, Newton's

  2. Squash Ball and Temperature Investigation

    For the anomaly at 650C, the ball may have been heated up more than 650C as it's average bounce back height was higher than the other results around it (for example at 600C, the average bounce back height was 45cm and at 700C the average bounce back height was 49cm

  1. Practical Investigation Into Viscosity

    Therefore I settled for 20cm intervals but timed from a 10cm starting point. This worked particularly well and produced the results that follow this explanation. Now that I had my first set of results, I thought I would introduce a variable of five differently sized ball bearings.

  2. Investigation into Friction.

    Hazards There will be relatively heavy masses involved in this experiment, so caution must be taken so that they do not fall off the desk onto a pupil's foot, because they could incur moderate injury. The masses must also not be dropped, because they themselves could be damaged, or they could damage classroom furniture, such as desks.

  1. To see how the distance, a weighted margarine tub travels, changes as the distance ...

    After realising this I have decided that instead of starting at 2cm and increasing the distances by 2cm each time, I will start at 4cm and increase the distances pulled back by 1cm each time all the way up to 12cm.

  2. My aim is to find out whether mass affects the distance travelled by a ...

    exerted on the ground and so less friction to slow it down. I found out that the average difference between the values of the first experiment was 28cm (rounded up to 1dp from 27.7cm). I then found out what they were for the second and 3rd experiments: 2nd = 27cm (rounded down to 1dp from 27.1cm)

  1. How Does Changing The Force In An Elastic Band Affect The Distance Travelled By ...

    I will repeat the experiment at 2N again, and continue to add weights till when I let go of the elastic band the tub doesn't turn over. When I find out the amount of weights I need in order for the tub to not turn over, I can begin my experiment.

  2. Liquid Friction.

    remain constant at 9.81Nkg-1 Viscosity is not only the resistance of an object through the fluid, but also the internal friction between the liquid. It can be thought as the 'stickiness' of the material. The coefficient of viscosity is the ratio of the shearing stress to the velocity gradient.

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