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Uniform Motion Lab. This experiment will measure the motion of a cart moving on an incline plane that is sloped downwards which leads onto a level horizontal track.

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Momina Abbasi

Physics 20X

        Feb. 23, 2011

Uniform Motion Lab

Background:  This experiment will measure the motion of a cart moving on an incline plane that is sloped downwards which leads onto a level horizontal track. The incline plane illustrates accelerated motion whereas the horizontal track shows uniform motion. The kinematics concept of uniform motion will be used. The equation relating to this concept is image04.png.

Problem: How is the distance of the cart affected by the time the car travels on the horizontal track?

Hypothesis:  The carts velocity will remain constant as it travels along the horizontal track.

Design: In this activity, a car’s motion on a level horizontal track will be graphically analyzed. A spark timer will mark the motion at a frequency of 10 Hz (10 dots/s) on a strip of paper called ticker tape. The car will travel down the incline plane onto a horizontal track. The displacement of the car on the horizontal track will be measured.


Independent Variable-The time it takes a cart to travel down an inclined plane. It was measured using a spark timer, with a constant setting of 10Hz (10 dots /s). image01.pngimage01.png

Dependent Variable-

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Run the ticker tape through the spark timer then tape it to the car. Place the car at the top of the track.Turn the spark timer on. Let the car go down the ramp. Turn the spark timer off once it has reached the bottom. Take off the ticker tape and begin to record your data. Repeat steps 2-7 for additional trials.


  • Meter stick is wood and brown in color.
  • The track is made of wood and fairly smooth
  • Cart was made out of metal

Time (s)

Displacement (m ± 0.01m)

Increase in distance (m)



















Table 1.0 - Displacement of a Cart as a Function of Time


Graph 1.1 Displacement as a function of Time

The Slope represents the velocity of the cart

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Ways to reduce the errors in this lab could be to attach the ticker tape to the cart in a way that it would not move at an angle to it, but rather it would take the exact same path as the cart. To reduce the possibility of human error, 2 or 3 people should measure the distances for more accuracy in the results, at eye level. At the intersection of the inclined ramp and horizontal ramp, they should be attached in a more suitable way so that it does not cause the cart to bump and move at an angle, but rather to go smoothly over it. Also to reduce the force of friction slowing the cart down, an air track apparatus should be used. Furthermore to increase the overall efficiency of the lab, more trials should be conducted.  

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