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Investigating how Changing the Height of a Ramp Affects the Stopping Distance of a Toy Car

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Investigating how Changing the Height of a Ramp Affects the Stopping Distance of a Toy Car

Background knowledge:

When the car is at the top pf the ramp, it has gravitational potential
energy (GPE).

The equation to calculate GPE is:

Mass x gravity x height.

When the car is released and starts travelling down the ramp, it now
has kinetic energy.

The equation to calculate kinetic energy is:

½ mass x velocity2 .

When the toy car travels along flat ground, the car eventually stops
due to friction slowing it down.

The equation to calculate friction is:

Work done = Force x distance

What are the key factors that affect the stopping distance of a toy
car?

The surface that the car travels on: If the board that the car travels
on is rough, then more energy will be needed for the toy car to travel
over the surface due to increased amounts of friction, knowing this
means that the toy car will travel best on a smooth surface.

The height of the ramp: The higher the ramp, the more GPE it will have
meaning it will travel faster down the ramp.

The Cars position on the ramp: Dependent on where the car is placed on
the ramp will alter its speed down the ramp.

* E.g. if the car is at the top, it has more GPE meaning it travels
faster

* If the car is place in the centre of the ramp the it will have less
GPE meaning it will travel slower down the ramp also altering its
stopping distance.

The mass of the toy car: Dependent on the mass of the car depends how
much friction will act on the car, the bigger the mass, the more
friction acting on it.

Aerodynamics of the toy car: The more aerodynamic the car is, the
longer it takes for the car to stop because the car will have less
drag acting on it.

The will investigate the height of the ramp. I will keep the other
factors at a constant to make this investigation fair.

Preliminary investigation:

For the preliminary investigation, the apparatus I will be using will
be the following:

* 1 Toy car

* Wood to be used as a ramp and to measure the stopping distance of
the car.

* Blocks to increase the height of the ramp

* A tape measure

Method:

* Set up the ramp and check for zero errors.

* The choose a starting height for the car

* Position the car at the top of the ramp (ALWAYS)

* Release the car down the ramp by just letting go,do not exert any
force on the toy car.

* Measure the stop distance.

* Record the stop distance in a table

* Raise the height by using the blocks.

* Repeat the method.

To carry out this preliminary investigation, I used 'Focus science
educational software'.

height.

The starting height was at 3cm, I ended at 13cm, meaning I increased
the height each time by 1cm.

The results are the following:

Height (cm)

Stop distance (cm)

3

28.3

4

54.5

5

60.6

6

81.9

7

93.0

8

135.4

9

137.7

10

139.5

11

176.2

12

188.6

13

203.9

Evaluation of the preliminary investigation and how can I learn for my
actual practical investigation?:

During the preliminary investigation, I didn't obtain any anomalies,
but to enable me to get more reliable results during my practical
investigation, I am going to repeat each height 3 times.

To allow me to get a greater range of results I will increase the
height of the ramp by 2cm each time instead of 1cm.

Practical investigation:

Prediction:

Following the data I obtained from my preliminary investigation, I am
able to make a prediction of the possible outcome of the graph for my
practical investigation. I can predict that as I increase the height
of the ramp, the stopping distance will increase.

For the practical investigation, the apparatus I will be using will be
the following:

* 1 Toy car

* Wood to be used as a ramp and to measure the stopping distance of
the car.

* Blocks to increase the height of the ramp

* A tape measure

Method:

* Set up the ramp and check for zero errors.

* The choose a starting height for the car

* Position the car at the top of the ramp (ALWAYS)

* Release the car down the ramp by just letting go,do not exert any
force on the toy car.

* Measure the stop distance.

* Record the stop distance in a table

* Repeat 3 times

* Raise the height by using the blocks.

Range and repeats:

* I will increase the height of the ramp by 2cm each time

* Start at 2cm and finish at 20cm

* Repeat each reading 3 times

Results:

Height of ramp (cm)

Stop distance (cm) 1 2 3

Average stop distance (cm)

2

15 18 18

17

4

42 47 46

45

6

100 106 115

107

8

127 130 130

129

10

151 141 156

149

12

160 162 176

166

14

210 201 210

207

16

233 250 230

238

18

262 252 248

254

20

366 354 348

356

Analysis of the results:

From the results table above, I can see that my prediction was
correct.

The reason for the increase in the stopping distance is because as the
height of the ramp is increased, the car gains more GPE meaning that
more GPE will be converted into kinetic energy allowing the car to
travel faster down the ramp resulting in an increased stopping
distance.

Conclusion:

I have found out that by increasing the height of the ramp, the
stopping distance will increase because of the increase in GPE and
kinetic energy.

Evaluation of the investigation:

During this investigation, I noticed several ways in which my results
were affected and ways in which I could improve my data, but my
results are reliable.

One way I could improve my data is to of used a more accurate
measuring device instead of a ruler to measure both stopping distance
and the height of the ramp.

My results were affected by the way the car slightly moved across the
board instead of travelling in a straight line, if this didn't happen,
the stopping distance I measured would have been greater resulting in
my data being more reliable.

A problem that also affected my results was the fact that my toy car
lost kinetic energy whilst moving onto the flat board. Because of the
way the ramp and the flat board met, a smooth slope wasn't created
meaning that the car lost kinetic energy resulting in a smaller
stopping distance.

My Friend suggested a way of preventing this problem, and that is by
using paper between where the boards meet to create a smooth slope,
this way the kinetic energy of the toy car cannot be affected by a bad
connection.

MLA Citation:
"Investigating how Changing the Height of a Ramp Affects the Stopping Distance of a Toy Car." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Apr 2014
<http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=149180>.