The Effect of Gravity on Speed
Gravity provides a constant acceleration (force) on an object. The effect is changed by using ramps at different angles. In this lab, you will find the optimal angle to maximize acceleration on a ball bearing so it travels the farthest and/or the fastest. Friction is the opposing force created by the surface interactions. Whenever something rolls due to a force, friction will oppose this force and slow it down.
Ramp Ball Bearing
Graph Paper (2) Ruler
1. Put the ramp against the seat of a chair. Place the ramp and chair so that the ramp points towards the hallway. Have your teammate on the other end of the hallway.
2. Place the ball bearing at the top of the ramp.
3. Lift the ramp 20 cm and release the ball bearing
4. Time how long it takes to travel 5 meters.
5. See how far it will go..
6. Repeat the experiment three times for each height then do 40 cm, 60 cm, and 80 cm.
Time to travel 5 meters
At the height 20 cm, the ball moved the fastest.
At the height 20 cm, 40, and 60, the ball moved the furthest.
At the height 80 cm, the ball moved the slowest.
1. Describe how the ball rolls off the ramp at each height—discuss the effect of bouncing or other factors.
The ball will be bouncing more when the height increases.
20 cm = the ball goes straight.
40 cm = the ball has a little bouncing.
60 cm = the ball bounces more.
80 cm = the ball bounces the most.
2. Discuss what is the fastest speed reached and any factors that could improve this.
5 m/ 4.34 seconds = 1.15 m/sec.
The factor that can improve the speed is the height.
3. Does the ball travel in a straight line, why or why not?
No because the force on the ball is not balanced.