Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pull-back cars redux

Here's another report from our investigation of pull-back cars:

How does the launch speed vary with ramp angle? - Cam, Mike, Toru  

The Goal:   The goal of our lab was to find the launch speed off a ramp in terms of the ramp angle. 

How'd You Do It?  We kept the distance of travel on the ramp and the distance we pulled back the car a constant. This way we could keep the function with only two variables, θ and ∆x. To get the maximum results we made the distance of travel where the car reaches near maximum speed while the car is still accelerating. This distance was found using Logger Pro. In order to give a bigger range of ∆x's, we put the ramp up on a higher location. The bigger range reduced the possible errors that could affect the calculations for the launch speed. 

What Happened?  We concluded through our experiment that in actuality any inclined angle in which the toy car has to exert a force up the slope, has a negative effect on the car's total distance traveled due to a decrease in velocity when leaving the ramp. So in the case of toy cars, the lower the angle, the farther the toy car will travel as long as the starting point is elevated above the measuring distance.

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