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

Making sense of data.

Extracts from this document...


Coursework - Making Sense of Data


The method used to collect the data was to fire projectiles from a launcher into a sandpit. The distance the projectile travelled was measured. For each projectile the angle of the launch was varied from 15 to 70o, from the horizontal. Twelve different angles were tested and three repeat readings were taken at each angle.

Five ball bearings with different diameters were used. The ball bearing was fired using a spring mechanism into a sandpit, which was at the same height that the ball bearing was launched from. The distance travelled was measured using a meter ruler.

Apparatus Diagram


  • From the raw results the mean distance travelled was calculated, giving an average reading using all the data.
  • From the diameter of the ball bearing the volume of the ball bearing was calculated - 4/3 * pi * radius3.  From this the mass can be calculated (using mass = density * volume).
  • The energy the spring provided was given as 0.1J. Using the mass this allowed the initial velocity to be calculated (initial velocity =sqrt (KE/0.5m)).
  • The initial velocity was divided into horizontal and vertical components using the sine and cosine rules combined with the angle of launch.
  • Knowing that the displacement vertically is zero, gravity is -9.8N/Kg and the initial vertical velocity the flight time can be worked out: time=2(initial velocity/gravity).
  • Assuming no air resistance the distance traveled should equal the time taken multiplied by the initial horizontal velocity. This allows a theoretical prediction of the distance travelled, which can be compared to the actual distance measured.
...read more.



This graph should also fall on a straight line. This is because U2 = (2*kinetic energy)/mass and by substituting it into the equation from graph 2 you get:

                   S =       (4Ke)        * sinθcosθ

mass *gravity

Therefore plotting S(y) and 1/mass (x) the gradient will be     4ke     *  sinθcosθ,


So if the angle remains constant the gradient will be constant, giving a straight line.

3. Distance-1/mass



4.  Estimated distance and actual distance against angle for a given diameter of ball bearing

This graph will show the difference between the actual results and the calculated distance using the energy (0.1J). It will be useful because, if the energy is correct, it will show how other factors including air resistance and measuring errors affect the results. Therefore the figures for estimated distance will probably be larger, i.e. the curve will be above the actual results as there is no air resistance.

Sample calculation

Launch Angle (o)

Angle (r)

Diameter of ball bearing(m)

Distance 1(mm)

Distance 2(mm)

Distance 3(mm)







Using the result:

  1. Average distance = (1395+1412+1418)/3 = 1408.3mm
  1. Volume of ball bearing = [4/3*Pi*r3]

     = 4/3 * 3.142 * (0.01/2 – radius)3

= 5.24E-07

  1. Mass of ball bearing     = density * volume

                                           = 8020 * 5.24E-07 = 0.004Kg

  1. Initial Velocities=
  •  Initial velocity = √(0.1/0.5*0.004) = 6.9ms-1
  •  Initial velocity vertically = 6.9 * sin0.262 = 1.786 ms-1
  •  Initial velocity horizontally = 6.9 * cos0.262 = 6.666 ms-1
...read more.


o and then decreasing again. However the actual distances are below what was expected. This may have been due to a number of factors (described below) or air resistance, which caused drag on the projectile, reducing its horizontal velocity.


        All the measurements recorded have a small degree of inaccuracy. For example, the distance the projectile travelled was measured with meter rulers to the crater formed in the sandpit, and the accuracy of this measurement is about +/- 1-2mm. This would not affect the results considerably as it is only a small percentage error - 2/2000 = 0.1%. Other small inaccuracies may have occurred with measuring the diameter of the ball bearing (+/- 0.1mm), adjusting the launch angle (+/- 0.5o) and aligning launcher at the same height as the sandpit (+/- 2mm). I feel the biggest error was in measuring the energy of the spring. This is probably why the calculated distance the ball bearing should have travelled is a lot further than the actual distance travelled. If this was the correct energy

provided by the spring air resistance would have reduced the distance travelled by almost 50%! (2380/4859*100 = 49%). Considering the experiment was conducted in a classroom without any wind this seems a very large value.

...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. Approximate Stopping Distances

    up areas will help halve the number of deaths on Britain's roads within the next few years. The study also called for greater enforcement of 20 mph zones through a new generation of speed cameras. The devices measure a driver's speed over a certain distance and should be a priority for the Home Office.

  2. Physics Coursework: To investigate the Oscillations of a mass on a spring

    The results all came out nearly the same, which then I concluded that the amplitude had no affect on the time taken. By using this apparatus, I was able to see whether the amplitude affects the time of oscillations. The results for this experiment was already shown above, and the

  1. Investigating the amazingness of theBouncing Ball!

    it would be impossible to get a completely elastic collision as the that will mean that no energy is conserved from kinetic to sound and/or heat. From the graphs produced of my results one can see the exponential decay of bounce of the ball.

  2. Mechanical Properties of a Meter Rule

    The stop watch might not have exactly been stopped at the point of 20 oscillations. 4. The distance the rule was moved to be ready for the swing was 0.2 meters. This could have not been accurate for each experiment as I had moved and so the position may seem the same but in fact be different.

  1. Designing a children's slide, making it exciting for the children whilst exercising safety.

    slide I must simplify the real life situation in order to be able to use the mathematical principles. 1) Assumption: Treat the child as a particle. This is because the position of the child on the slide will have an impact on the velocity the child will travel down the slide.

  2. Making Sense of Data

    Velocity B (ms-1) 0.268 0.206 10.0 0.373 0.485 0.205 0.173 20.0 0.488 0.578 0.173 0.152 30.0 0.578 0.658 0.174 0.154 40.0 0.575 0.649 0.153 0.139 50.0 0.654 0.719 0.139 0.128 60.0 0.719 0.781 0.130 0.120 70.0 0.769 0.833 0.119 0.113 80.0 0.840 0.885 0.112 0.106 90.0 0.893 0.943 In order

  1. Making Sense of Data.

    velocity at the start of the ramp than at the end, which can be seen due to the fact that the gradient becomes shallower. This must mean that there is a larger force opposing the trolley as it picks up speed and could be due to air resistance.

  2. Experimental Techniques; Analysis of Boundary Layer Data.

    0.1 0.84459 0.08602526 0.131261095 0.01199726 0.01 0.079471 0.51818 0.182124266 0.1 0.81788 0.08312304 0.148955018 0.01401081 0.0117 0.098874 0.52972 0.211948564 0.1 0.78805 0.08029636 0.16702637 0.01579907 0.0134 0.104896 0.53992 0.273886695 0.2 0.72611 0.15141647 0.198872773 0.03658991 0.0167 0.12431 0.55741 0.332334653 0.2 0.66767 0.13937787 0.221888332 0.04207611 0.0201 0.14249 0.57211 0.380250394 0.3 0.61975 0.19311224 0.235660032 0.06863225

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