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My aim is to find out whether mass affects the distance travelled by a margarine tub with the same force applied.

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Science Investigation


My aim is to find out whether mass affects the distance travelled by a margarine tub with the same force applied.

What I Will Do

First of all I will set up the apparatus and have one person sitting on the stool to make sure it does not move. Ill then place the tub in front of the pulled back elastic band (15N) and let go of the tub, letting it move forward. I will then make a mark near the rulers with the chalk where the tub stopped and record my results in a table.

Preliminary Experiment Results

Weight (grams)

Distance Travelled (centimetres)









When I performed the preliminary experiment, I found out that 100g differences between the weights does not give me a valid set of results. The difference between the distances travelled is large and if I plot a graph, the points would be too sparse to give an accurate graph.


Factors that could affect the experiment

Possible Affecting Factors

Why It Affects

How It Is Overcome

Surface area of tub

More friction with larger S.A

Keep same tub

Friction on the ground

Will slow down tub

Clean floor beforehand

Different type of floor

Less or more friction

Stay on same floor

Mass flying out of tub

It will give inconclusive results

Aim down slightly when releasing + use some tape

Where mass is positioned inside the tub

Force by elastic band may be absorbed by weight.

A thin layer of selotape will keep it in place

...read more.


I marked on the ground by the ruler how far the tub moved and then recorded all the marks in a table.

After completing this, I performed the experiment again because I wanted to see if my results were conclusive enough. If there was any results that looked wrong or out of place then I would know that they were bad. There was a result that looked wrong (see results table on next page) so I

...read more.


I think that my results were reliable to a certain extent. I don’t think that they were extremely accurate because some of the distances measured by the ruler were rounded off to the nearest centimetre so they would not have been perfect. Also, the force (15N) that was used to move the tub may have been slightly different each time it was used because there was two people doing it and they may have had different interpretations of where put move the marker (above or below the 15N line on the Newton meter).

Nearly all of my results were accurate except for 1 (2nd experiment on 200g) it was way below the result before (52g gap) and so it must have been wrong. I think this could have happened for various reasons; The elastic band may not have been touching the tub completely so not all of the force was put onto the tub, the Newton Meter may have not been put on 15N so the distance was lower than it should be, or the weight may not have been centred in the middle of the tub (the elastic band could have hit the weight and not the tub making some of the force be absorbed into the weight).

...read more.

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