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To find out if the height of a ramp affects the speed of a car trolley.

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Science Investigation               Physics

Aim: To find out if the height of a ramp affects the speed of a car trolley.

Prediction: I predict that the speed of the trolley will increase, the higher the ramp gets. Normally when something gets steeper, the speed in which things travel down it increases. This is because of potential energy. The potential energy of an object is made up of three things and they are mass, gravity and height. Those three things multiplied together, equal to potential energy. So if the height increases, the whole equation changes and therefore the speed will increase, since the sum is greater.

But that’s just the potential energy. I also gathered from my studies, that kinetic energy is equal to potential. So if the potential energy goes up or down, so will the kinetic energy. Here are the equations to prove this.

pe= potential energy          ke= kinetic energy           m= mass

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- We didn’t give the trolley a push off.

Safety: We made sure we handled the ramp and car trolley carefully.


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  The speed squared showed and can be used to measure the potential energy of a car trolley.

Evaluation: Well there were many things that could have been improved. Maybe we should have started to look at longer length ramps and see if distance also has an affect on speed. Plus with a longer ramp, we could have looked at more heights.

One of our problems, which didn’t make our investigation very fair, was the human reaction time. It takes a human being on average 0.7 seconds to react. So the person recording timings wouldn’t be able to record accurately. Plus reaction times are also affected by our body’s conditions, such as being tired or unwell.

The reaction times could have been accurate if we had used light gates, as they would record the exact times when the car trolley would pass the points. The problem we had with light gates was that our school wouldn’t be able to afford them.

...read more.

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