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This investigation aims to find out which liquid the ball bearing will fall quickest or slowest through.

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Viscosity Coursework

Aim of Investigation: - To find out which liquid the ball bearing will fall quickest or slowest through

The Variables (The factors that could change the results are)

Name of variable

Input or Outcome









        In this investigation there are many variables that will affect the terminal velocity of ball bearings as they pass through the five different liquids Glycerol, Teapol, Water, Motor oil and cooking oil. The variables are;

Temperature An increase in temperature decreases the viscosity of a fluid and therefore decreases the friction opposing the motion of the ball bearings. However, since the investigation takes place over a number of days, the temperature was monitored closely.

Friction due to the sides of the tube may also play a part if the vertical tube is narrow.  To minimize this, in the investigation, ball bearings were dropped from the center of the tube so that they were less likely to experience friction due to the sides of the tube.


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Safety Measures

        I will make sure me and my group will be careful when handling all equipment which includes all of the liquids. We must also be careful when handling all of the liquids.

I will make it a fair test by

        I will make it a fair test by repeating each experiment five times each to make sure my results are acurate and fair. We will have the same person to time the

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Apparatus – the experiment could be redesigned so that apparatus such as light gates could be used to provide an accurate method to obtain data for the speed of the ball bearings.

Throughout the experiment I monitored the temperature using a thermometer.  This was because temperature affects the viscosity of the glycerol and therefore the friction opposing the motion of the ball bearings.  

Variation of temperature – A thermometer measures to the nearest degree This meant variations in viscosity of the liquids within the tube and difficulty in maintaining a constant temperature when reached. 

Friction – Frictional forces acting from the sides of the tube may have had significant effect on the ball bearings by opposing their motion.  This may have produced anomalous results. To eliminate this in a future investigation, a much wider tube should be used.

Matthew Underwood 11 Lov

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