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To investigate what affects the speed a trolley a reaches on a runway

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To investigate what affects the speed a trolley a reaches on a runway

Background Knowledge:

Potential energy is the energy an object has due to its height.

Change in PE =Weight x Change in height

                           PE =Mgh

Kinetic energy is energy possessed by a moving object.

Kinetic energy =½ x Mass x Speed spuared

                        KE =½mv²

Conservation of energy:

The principle of conservation of energy:

Energy can be changed from one form to another but it cannot be created or destroyed.

Equations of motion:

V  = u+at

S  = ut + ½at²

v² = u² + 2as

u+v=  s

  1. =  t


 The key factors which are likely to affect our investigation are listed below



        Mass of trolley

        The distance the trolley has to travel

We are going to investigate how height affects the speed of the trolley, this is our independent variable. We are going to use physics text books which are 4cm thick to ramp the runway.

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Trolley with card on top image16.pngimage19.pngimage18.pngimage18.pngimage17.png




Text books   Runway        Light gate connected to the computer which has the easy sense program running.


image34.png        Set up apparatus as shown above        

image34.png        Turn on the computer

image34.png        Clamp light gate to the edge of the runway and turn on the easy sense unit.

image34.png        Start easy sense by going to Start, Programs, Easy Sense then Timing on the computer.

image34.png        Change the settings so that the computer is measuring velocity.

image34.png        Set up a table in Easy sense timing for measuring your results.


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My conclusion proved my prediction correct as I thought velocity would increase with an increase in height. This happened because as the runway is raised to a greater height the trolley gains more potential energy therefore giving it greater kinetic energy so it travels at a higher velocity.


I think the method used when carrying out our experiment was the best available because it involved us  repeating the measurements three times for each height giving us very reliable results.

There was one result that was at a higher velocity and broke the trend.

I think this might have happened because it might have been accidentally given a push at the top of the runway giving it more PE.

I think the only improvement we could make to the experiment is when releasing the trolley at the top. You could maybe have a barrier which can be raised ti release the car so that it isn’t given any extra force.

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