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To investigate how different forces affect the speed of a trolley across different distances.

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Physics Coursework 2002                                                                             Ricky Winborn

Examine the motion of a trolley with different forces



To investigate how different forces affect the speed of a trolley across different distances.


1 x Ramp: approximately 1.2 meters in length

1 x trolley

1 x pulley with clamp

1 x string

1 x wooden board

1 x stopwatch



The weights must be handled with care and must be securely fastened to the trolley so as not to fall off and cause injury.


I am going to set up a board on a table with 0.00 – 1.20 metres marked at every ten centimetres. I am then going to attach weights of 15, 20, 30, 40, and 50grams to the end of the string on the pulley and then attach that to the trolley. I am then going to release the weight on the string and time how long it takes for the trolley to reach the end of the ramp.

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Factors to control:

The weight

The gradient of the ramp

The trolley

The person timing

The person releasing the trolley and the weight

Factors to vary:

The force (weight on pulley)

The distance


I predict that as the weight on the end of the string is doubled, the time taken is halved across a certain distance. Also, as the distance increases, so will the time taken. Also as the weight increases, so will the speed. This due to as the weight is increased, so is the force pulling the car (GPE). I came to this prediction after looking at some of Isaac Newton’s theories on gravity and forces.

Analysing evidence and drawing conclusions:

The graphs I have drawn clearly show that as the distance the trolley has to travel is increased, so is the time taken.

The graph

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The experiment went very well and produced some good results that enabled me to draw conclusions and comment on them. Also there were not too many anomalies in the results but had the experiment been done again, I would have tried to obtain less anomalies. I could have timed each run more times and calculate an average to make the test even more fair. We could have used a card and light gate instead of an inaccurate human timing when the trolley crosses the line. We could also have used a data logger to eradicate human error. We could have also done the experiment with more loads to draw more graphs and investigate even further. On the whole, the experiment went well, producing some good results. Also, most importantly, the experiment went safely.

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