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Physics - how the launch height affects the horizontal distance a ski jumper travels from the launch ramp

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Physics Coursework Aim: We planed and carried out an investigation to find out how the launch height affects the horizontal distance a ski jumper travels from the launch ramp. However we couldn't actually use a ski jumper so we used a ball to represent the ski jumper and a plastic ramp elevated by a table to simulate the ski jump. Preliminary Experiment: When we first started the investigation there were certain things that we had to choose from to make sure that our results in the final experiment would be as reliably as possible. These are as followed: Choice of ramp: Ramp 1.) Curtain rail (smaller ramp) (Cross section of curtain rail) Not to scale Ramp 2.) Plastic rail (larger ramp) (Cross Section of plastic rail) Not to scale We chose to use the plastic rail because at high speeds the balls easily fell off of the curtain rail. The diagrams show the differences between the two rails and how the ball moved more freely down the plastic rail. Methods of measurement: The distance that the ball had travelled had to be accurately measured to make sure our results were reliable. At first we just used two metre rulers and roughly measured how far the ball had travelled. However this was not accurate enough because the ruler may not have been directly at the point that we were trying to measure, it may have been slightly to the side of the ball. ...read more.


Each time we made sure that 20cm of track was fixed down to the table to make sure our results stayed constant. If the ramp was not parallel to the floor, the ball would not travel as far and also our measurements would not be accurate. We also used a spirit level here to make sure that the ramp was level on the table because if it wasn't flat on the table then the ball would have a greater angle of elevation and would therefore travel further. * That the height of the ramp was attached to the clamp stand at the same height (90cm) each time. We did this by measuring how high the clamp was on the clamp stand with a metre ruler. If it was not the same for every test, the results could have become inconstant * That the rulers were perpendicular to the table; we did this by using a setsquare, and checked the position of the rulers before each test. * That the sand was smooth before the ball made the crater, otherwise, the measurements could be inaccurate because we could have not measured to the right crater. * That there was no sand still on the ball. We did this by wiping the ball in a clean piece of material each time. ...read more.


However we did get some outlier results ion our results table that are not included in our graphs therefore we do need to question whether the experiment was 100% reliable. The outliers may have been caused because a sudden breeze may have come from a door opening if someone left the room, also we may have not quite cleared all the sand off the ball in one of the runs. Due to the fact that our experiment has limitations I would ideally like to re-do the experiment and maybe try a wider range of launch heights for example go up in intervals of 5cm rather than 10 also we could increase the number of times that we repeated each height. In a perfect situation to stop there from being any sand left on the ball we could have used a new ball each time we launched the ball. However this may cause more error because each ball may be slightly different. All in all the experiment was as accurate as it could have been in the conditions we had to work in. therefore it has given a good insight into how the launch height affects the distance travelled by a ski jumper. However it will not give a perfect simulation of it, as weather, air resistance, wait and all sorts of other things will affect how far the ski jumper travels. ?? ?? ?? ?? Robert Horne Physics Coursework ...read more.

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