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What affects how far a ball rolls down a ramp?

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What affects how far a ball rolls down a ramp?


I am trying to find out what factors effect the distance a ball rolls when released from the top of a ramp.





Height of Ball from the ground

Height of Ramp

Distance ball rolls

Centimeters (cm)

Length of Ramp

Speed ball rolls

Surface of Ramp

Direction ball rolls

Surface of Floor

Weight of Marble

Size of Marble

Surface of Marble


The height of the ramp will change the speed and distance the ball rolls because when the ramp is higher, the ball will be higher. The higher the ball is the more gravitational potential energy it has; therefore more energy will be transferred to kinetic energy. When the length of the ramp is changed, so is its gradient, therefore the ball will roll quicker and further. The surface of the ramp can cause friction on the ball; therefore kinetic energy is lost, so the ball slows down. Different surfaces of ramp will change the speed of the ball and therefore also the distance it rolls. When the ball has rolled off the ramp it will continue to roll on the floor, different surfaces of floor will result in different amounts of friction, changing the speed of the ball, and distance it rolls. The weight of the Marble will affect the distance it roll and also the speed at which it rolls at.

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1x         wooden ramp (130cm)

30x        Exercise books

1x         Metre rule

1x        Marble


I will use a 130cm ramp for the ball to roll down. The ramp will be held up with books, when it needs to be higher I simply ad more books. I will release a marble (24.5 grams) at a set point on the ramp, 10cm from the highest end, and record how far it rolls from the lowest end of the ramp, where the ramp hits the floor using a tape measure. Each time I take a recording I will change the height of the ramp; this will be done using a ruler so the difference in height can be recorded. I will start of with only 4 books, and then add more after every recording. I didn’t want to keep the difference in height consistent; I think it will be better if the difference in each height change was different, this would show a more reliable pattern on my graph.

When carrying out the experiment I plan to keep it as fair as possible. I will do this by making the equipment and the surroundings the same every time I do a test. I will always use the same board and ball, the ramp

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        The measurements were taken using a metre rule. This meant we had to mark each metre with our thumb and loose accuracy. A tape measure which was rolled out at the beginning and wasn’t moved during the whole experiment would have been much more accurate. All the readings we took were to the nearest millimetre, I felt it was almost impossible to be anymore accurate. Also, the distance between the metre rule and marble was often too big to record accurately; we had to just use our eyesight as accurately as possible. Another metre rule would have been useful; we could line it up with the marble and accurately got the distance it rolled.

        To have made the experiment more reliable I should have done multiple recordings for each test. 3 recordings for each test and then the average would have given me a reliable set of results. The experiment would also be repeated multiple times itself; this would show how reliable it was. My graph shows my experiment was reliable; the crosses are very close and follow an almost exact pattern.

        I am confident that my conclusion is right because it is the only explanation for the coherent set of results. If I repeated my experiment I am sure I would find a pattern very much the same, depending on how well I kept the test fair and accurate.

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