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To find out how the height from which a marble is dropped affects the diameter of the crater which it creates on collision with sand.

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Introduction

Sophie Harneiss 11TEH

Physics Coursework

Aim:- To find out how the height from which a marble is dropped affects the diameter of the crater which it creates on collision with sand.

Prediction:- I predict that the higher you drop the marble from, the wider the crater will become.  I think this because the higher you drop the ball from, the faster it will be traveling when it collides with the sand.  This is because the marble accelerates as it falls; it accelerates because of gravity pulling it towards the earth at 10m/s, however there is another force acting on the marble as it falls, Air Resistance.  Air Resistance is an upwards force that changes depending on the surface area of the object that is falling.  The smaller the surface area, the less the air resistance, hence the faster it falls.  Because the ball accelerates as it falls the higher you drop it from, the more time it has to gain speed and energy before it collides with the sand.  Meaning a greater impact on the sand, the more energy the sand has to absorb so the crater is wider.

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Middle

image02.png

Diagram 2:- This Diagram shows how the marble speeds up as it falls towards the ground. The Balls are shown at 1 second intervals.  The higher you drop the ball from, the faster it is falling when it hits the sand.

Equipment List:-

  • Clamp & Stand
  • Meter Ruler
  • Tray of Sand
  • Marble
  • Ruler to Measure Crater

Method:-

  • Set up Equipment according to diagram
  • Make Sure Sand is level
  • Measure the Height and drop the marble in the centre of the tray
  • Measure Distance across the crater with a ruler and record in table to the nearest mm

Diagram:-

Pre-Test:- I am going to do a pre-test to check that there are no flaws in my method, and that I can measure and record the results accurately.

Results of Pre-test:- From my pre-test I can see that:

  • It is hard and not practical to drop the marble from a height of under 10cm.
  • It is easier to have the equipment on the floor as when you get to higher heights; it is hard to drop the marble into the centre of the tray if you cannot see where you are dropping it from.
  • Instead if measuring the crater directly from the sand, it is easier to put paper clips in the ridges and measure across; because if you try to measure directly across with a ruler, you have to remove the marble, which disturbs the sand.

Equipment List for Experiment:-

  • Clamp & Stand
  • Meter Ruler
  • Tray of Sand
  • Marble
  • Two straightened out paper clips
  • 15cm Ruler

Method for Experiment:-

  • Set up Equipment according to diagram on the floor
  • Make Sure Sand is level
  • Measure the Height and drop the marble in the centre of the tray
  • Insert paper clips into the top ridge of the sand
  • Measure Distance across from paper clip to paper clip with a ruler and record in table to the nearest mm
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Conclusion

Conclusion:-

My prediction was correct, but the marbles impact von the sand started to level out sooner than I had expected, I expected to see big changes in the width of the crater up to about 100cm, but the biggest changes happened in between 10cm and 50cm.  

If I did the experiment again there are a few things I would change as to how the experiment was set up:-

  • Firstly I would have a larger tray to fill with sand, as it was sometimes hard to get the marble into the centre of the sand.  This would be easier as well if I was to go on and drop the marble from much higher heights such as 4 or 5 meters.
  • I would drop the marble from higher heights to see if I could find out the terminal velocity of the marble.

From the experiment I can see that the higher you drop the marble from the more energy it gains so the bigger impact it has on the sand.

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