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An investigation into the acceleration of a trolley up a ramp.

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Introduction

GCSE PHYSICS COURSEWORK – PLANNING THE INVESTIGATION

Title of the investigation – An investigation into the acceleration of a trolley up a ramp.

State your hypothesis – I predict that that as the mass of the pulley increases, the acceleration of the trolley will subsequently increase. However I believe that the acceleration can only increase to a certain extent hence eventually the acceleration will level off and remain the same.

What scientific knowledge has enabled you to make this hypothesis? The main theory that has enabled me to make this prediction is Newton’s Second Law of Motion. Newton stated that F=Ma; Force= Mass x Acceleration. This relationship can be turned into an equation by putting in a constant; F=constantxma. Force in physics, is defined as any action or influence that accelerates, or changes the velocity of a certain object. Force is a vector, which in other words means that it ha both direction and magnitude. The diagram below helps to explain the scientific theories. The trolley mass has been given the letter ‘M’ while the pulley mass has been called ‘m.’

image00.pngimage01.png

The gravitational potential energy is going to increase as the mass increases due to the fact that gravitational potential energy=mass x gravitational constant x height. If any of the numerous variables is varied however, the results could be totally different due to the energy either increasing or decreasing.

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Middle

Place ticker tape to lower end of ramp.Using the ruler, measure two metres for the trolley to travel. Attach string( 2m in length) to trolley, and to pulley.Place trolley at the base of the ramp and place 500g of weights on trolley. Attach ticker tape to trolley.Place weights on the string, that should be placed on the pulley. Begin with 0.3kg of mass.Turn on ticker tape machine and let the trolley go. NB. Do not push trolley, just let go of it.Record results, change the ticker tape and add another 50 grams to string, then repeat the 4 stages.

limage02.png

 The diagram above shows how the apparatus should look once put in place.

What safety precautions will you take? This experiment is not dangerous hence no safety precautions need to be taken. However care must be taken while using the weights as the string could snap.

List the sources of information that you have used.

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Complete Physics- Steven Pople

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GCSE PHYSICS COURSEWORK – RESULTS.

MASS (g)

1

2

3

AVERAGE m/s2

300

0.48

0.31

0.385

0.391667

350

0.62

0.72

0.79

0.71

400

0.98

1.09

0.71

0.926667

450

1.31

1.4

1.25

1.32

500

1.34

1.45

1.49

1.426667

550

1.41

1.51

1.57

1.496667

600

1.45

1.67

1.64

1.586667

650

1.65

1.71

1.69

1.683333

700

1.67

1.85

1.81

1.776667

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Conclusion

This experiment left great gaps that could have been investigated. I would have liked to have investigated other variables if it had been possible. Another possible experiment would have been to investigate different inclinations of the ramp. This was another variable which for obvious reasons was very important in my experiment. The ramp inclination could have been investigated by keeping the mass of the trolley and pulley remaining the same and only varying the angle of the slope changing. The best angles to use would be 0 degrees( in other words no slope) 10, 20 ,30 and 40 degrees. This would give a decent range.  

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