# The aim of this investigation is to see if the height of a ramp affects the speed of a car pushed down it.

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Introduction

Physics Course work

Car on a ramp

By Ben Sweeney

Aim:

The aim of this investigation is to see if the height of a ramp affects the speed of a car pushed down it.

Prediction:

I predict that as the height of the ramp increases the potential energy of the car goes up. Science dictates that potential energy is affected by height. This is shown by the heights presence in the equation for potential energy:

potential energy = weight x gravity x height

joules = grams x Newton’s x centimetres

Kinetic energy is the movement of the car from the potential energy. So as the kinetic energy is used the potential energy goes down. Also, as the potential energy increases the kinetic energy increases similarly. I predict that as the ramp gets higher the car will move faster down the slop. I think this because science dictates that gravity pulls a mass towards it, and as the ramp gets higher the angle is steeper. This means that the car should be pulled down to the surface quicker.

Velocity has a speed and direction. The equation for velocity is:

velocity = distance ÷ time

metres/second = metres ÷ second

In velocity the direction affects the speed, and going down, I predict, means the car goes faster.

Middle

∙ Do not press the stop clock to often because of repetitive strain injury.

Results:

Height of ramp (cm) | Length of ramp (cm) | Time (s) | Average time (s) | ||

1 | 2 | 3 | |||

10 | 146.5 | 2.94 | 2.84 | 3.19 | 2.99 |

20 | 146.5 | 1.72 | 1.56 | 1.67 | 1.65 |

30 | 146.5 | 1.35 | 1.29 | 1.37 | 1.34 |

40 | 146.5 | 1.07 | 1.28 | 1 | 1.12 |

50 | 146.5 | 0.88 | 0.69 | 0.88 | 0.82 |

60 | 146.5 | 0.81 | 0.93 | 0.81 | 0.85 |

Speed (to 2dp) (m/s) | velocity squared (m/s) | Potential energy (j) |

0.49 | 0.24 | 8 |

0.89 | 0.79 | 16 |

1.09 | 1.2 | 24 |

1.31 | 1.71 | 32 |

1.79 | 3.19 | 40 |

1.72 | 2.97 | 48 |

Graphs:

Conclusion:

The height of the ramp which gave the fastest speed was 50 cm high which gave a sped of 1.79 metres per second. This is because potential energy is higher than other heights, and there is more to be transferred into kinetic energy. Gravity remains constant, but the steepness of the slope is different, higher. The steeper the slope means the potential energy is greater and the car moves faster.

The height of the ramp which gave the slowest speed was 10 cm high which gave a speed of 0.49 metres per second. This is because potential energy is lower than with the other heights, and there s less to be transferred into kinetic energy. Gravity remains constant but the steepness is different, smaller and lower down. Because the slope has the smallest angle the potential energy is lower and the car moves slower.

This means that the higher the ramp the greater the speed of the car.

Conclusion

Method:

∙ Set up the apparatus as shown in the following diagram:

∙ Have three different cars the same size, but weighing; 0.8kg, 1.6kg, 2.4kg. They must be the same size so that the shape will not affect the speed at which they travel down the ramp, and it is the weight under investigation here, not the shape.

∙ Have the ramp to put at different heights; 10cm, 20cm, 30cm, 40cm, 50cm, 60cm, 70cm, 80cm, 90cm, 1m.

∙ Place the first car at the top of the ramp for the first height and set the timer to zero.

∙ Release the car and press ‘go’ simultaneously.

∙ Let the car come to a halt and press stop on the timer at the same time.

∙ Record the time taken.

∙ Repeat the test two more times. There should be three sets of results for accuracy. Make sure that all the results are at lease 0.2 seconds within each other so they are close and show reliability.

∙ Repeat the test with the ramp at 20cm, 30cm, 40cm, 50,cm, 60cm, 70cm, 80cm, 90cm, 1m.

∙ Repeat the previous steps with the other car weights; 0.8kg, 1.6kg, 2.4kg.

∙ Record the results in the following table:

Car weight (kg)= | |||||

Time Taken (s) | |||||

Ramp Height (cm) | 1 | 2 | 3 | Average Time (s) | Length of Ramp (cm) |

10 | |||||

20 | |||||

30 | |||||

40 | |||||

50 | |||||

60 | |||||

70 | |||||

80 | |||||

90 | |||||

100 |

Speed (2dp) (m/s) | Velocity Squared (m/s) | Potential Energy (j) |

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Forces and Motion section.

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