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Physics Design Practical

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Physics Design Internal Assessment


Investigate one factor affecting the distance travelled by a weighted margarine tub when it is propelled along a runway by a stretched rubber band.

Focused Research Question

Does the amount of force applied affect the distance travelled by a weighted margarine tub when it is propelled along a runway by a stretched rubber band?


I think that the greater the force applied by the rubber band, the further the margarine tub will travel.

Graph 1: Predicted data results


This graph represents my hypothesis that the distance travelled by the margarine tub is proportional to the product of the force applied to the elastic band and the distance elastic band is pulled back

Background Information

When the elastic band is pulled back, the tub is put into place and you let go of the elastic band, the tub will travel a certain distance. The tub will stop due to energy and forces acting on the tub.

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Affect on Experiment

Method of Control


Elastic band

Elastic bands have different stretch points

Use the same elastic band throughout the experiment


- Different widths of stools will stretch the rubber band differently  

- The stool will move during the experiment and affect the distance recorded

 - Use the same stool for each trial

- Have someone either hold the stool or sit on it

Margarine Tub

Shape of the margarine tub may affect the amount of friction

Use the same margarine tub


A heavier weight will travel less than a lighter one

Use the same weight

Surface of Experiment

Friction will affect this experiment significantly, and different surfaces have different levels of friction

Use the same part of the floor for each trial to keep friction consistent

Meter ruler

Inconsistent reading of the data

Tape the ruler to the floor so it doesn’t move

Interpretation of distance

Inconsistent reading will affect the data

Measure from the closest part of the margarine tub to the base of the stool


  • An elastic band
  • A 50g margarine tub
  • A 100g weight
  • A stool
  • Flat surface (ie. floor)
  • A Newton meter
  • A meter ruler
  • Chalk
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Table 3: The distance the rubber band must be pulled back to reach the required force


Distance Pulled back








Table 4: The distance travelled by the margarine tub at different forces

Distance Travelled by Margarine Tub


Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Trial 4

Trial 5









...read more.

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