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To find out how increasing the height an object is dropped from, affects its average speed.

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Adrianna Harold 10B1 01-05-02 Physics Coursework Aim: To find out how increasing the height an object is dropped from, affects its average speed. Prediction: I predict that the higher the object is dropped from the faster its average speed. This is because gravity pulls everything down and the higher an object is dropped from, the more time it has to accelerate until it reaches terminal velocity. V=ta+u (Where V = Final Velocity, T=Time, A= Acceleration and U= Initial velocity) In addition, the heavier an object, the longer the distance it has to travel before drag equals weight. This means the object will probably never reach terminal velocity. Plan: First I will collect the equipment and use a ball of plasticine to drop through air as a freefall. I will drop the ball from heights of 30cm, 40cm, 50cm, 60cm, 70cm, 80cm, 90cm and 1m. I will use a measuring stick to measure the heights from which to drop the plasticine. I will then drop the ball from each height and record the speed by timing how long it takes to reach the floor. 1. Collect equipment (see below) 2. ...read more.


* Decision made to not use parachute (would have complicated results) * 20cm is too small to measure as a distance from the ground so this measure was abandoned in favour of 30cm-100cm. * The same person has to drop the same ball or results would not be as accurate. * Plasticine needs to be dropped just above measurement: Preliminary Experiment: To test my procedure and equipment, I carried out preliminary tests and made modifications to my plan (see above). I collected the following results: Height (cm) Time taken (secs) Speed (cm/s) 100cm 0.72 139 80cm 0.62 129 60cm 0.45 133 40cm 0.36 111 20cm 0.40 50 To work out the speed of the plasticine I used the following formula triangle: D= Distance S= Speed T= Time :. Speed = Distance/ Time Table of results: Height of drops (cms) Time taken (secs) Repeat of time taken (secs) Average time (secs) Average speed (cm/s) 100cm 0.55 0.50 0.53 188.68 90cm 0.42 0.40 0.41 219.51 80cm 0.47 0.45 0.46 173.91 70cm 0.37 0.32 0.34 205.88 60cm 0.30 0.38 0.34 176.47 50cm 0.41 0.35 0.38 131.58 40cm 0.32 0.25 0.29 137.93 30cm 0.25 0.20 0.23 130.43 Workings: Average time = (Time taken + Repeat time taken) ...read more.


Human error, i.e. reaction time was very important, the stopwatch had to started and stopped at exactly the right time or results would be inaccurate. A way to solve this problem would be to use light-gates or ticker tape to measure the speed. My results on the graph were scattered and not very accurate because of this. My repeats were quite varied from the original set of results. One set of results for the 100cm drop had "0.55 secs" first then "0.50 secs" for the repeat. This means that these results could have been 10% out from the actual time. If I were to repeat the experiment, I would use a more accurate measuring system such as light-gates and a longer distance, for instance 200cm. This would perhaps show terminal velocity and would be easier to time. Further Research/Experiments: I did some further research and found out that: * The bigger the unbalanced force the bigger the acceleration. * The bigger the mass, the smaller the acceleration. * Weight (N) = mass (kg) x gravitational field strength (N/kg). If I were to do another experiment, I would compare two different masses of object, to prove these statements correct. ...read more.

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