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Paul Lim

Due Date: Friday, 9th, Week 7

Year 8 Physics: Friction Practical


Word count: 400-500 words
Any object that moves has kinetic energy.
When a toy car is pushed, the car is given kinetic energy. This kinetic energy allows the car
to continue to move after it has stopped being pushed. However, the car will eventually stop.
This is due to friction. Friction is caused by two surfaces rubbing together. Friction occurs
between the wheels of the car and the ground, producing heat. Eventually all the kinetic
energy is transformed into heat and the car stops moving.
This is an example of wasted energy. The heat produced as the car moves along the surface
has been converted into a non-usable form.
In the practical, you will need to investigate how different surfaces will affect the friction on
the toy cars. You will work in pairs but must submit a final report individually.
Introduction
When the toy car is pushed down the ramp, the energy given to the car is kinetic energy as
the car is now able to move from one place to another. The kinetic energy transfers to a
different type of energy due to friction. Friction occurs when two different surfaces contact
each other. This causes tiny amounts of heat energy while also causing the car to stop
moving. Eventually this causes the kinetic energy to be transferred to heat energy due to
friction. The kinetic energy in this experiment is a useful energy as the student will want the
car to move further. The heat energy is a wasted energy because the energy is not used for
anything else other than causing the car to stop. Friction occurs in many different situations
in our lives. Simple processes such as rubbing hands together when cold is an occurrence of
friction.
Aim
The aim of the experiment was to measure how much friction is produced on certain
surfaces and to measure how far cars can go due to this friction.\
Hypothesis
The smoother the surface that the car is running on is, the further the car will go due to the
lack of friction produced. If the surface is rougher such as carpet more friction will be
produced which will then cause the car to not go far.
Independent variable
The surface that the car is pushed
Dependant variable
How far the car goes

You will need:

Ramp
Car

Paul Lim
Due Date: Friday, 9th, Week 7

Tape Measure
Pen and paper
3 different surfaces

Method:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

The car was held at the top and then let go


Students waited for the car to run down the ramp and come to a complete stop
The distance from the bottom of the ramp to the car was measured
Results were recorded
The experiment was repeated on three different surfaces to compare the difference.

Distance Travelled

Results
Surface

Distance travelled (cm)


Trial 1
Trial 2

Trial 3

Average

Lab floor
Carpet
Concrete

222
119
180

264
138
131

235.67
125.67
139.33

211
120
107

Discussion:
Which surface did the car travelled the furthest on? Why?
The car travelled the furthest on the lab floor because the lab floor was the smoothest
surface.
How did the different surfaces change the distance travelled by the car?
The surface changed the distance travelled by the car by how rough the surface was. The
more rough the surface was the less the car travelled.
How does the energy change forms as the car moves from the top of the ramp to a
stop?
The car begins with kinetic energy as the car is pushed and it moves down the ramp. When
the car loses acceleration the kinetic energy becomes heat energy because of the friction
between the wheels and the ramp.
How would you improve this experiment to remove errors?
I would do the experiment all indoors so that the car does not get pushed more by the wind.
The car could be improved as when the car left the ramp it curved to the side which caused
it to lose distance.

Paul Lim
Due Date: Friday, 9th, Week 7
Other observations or comments.
The car curved to the side of the track which caused it to lose distance. The car must not
have received any acceleration from the start (such as a push) or else this would have
caused the car to receive further acceleration and therefore more distance.
Conclusion:
Was the hypothesis correct?
The hypothesis was correct as the car travelled further on smoother surfaces while the car
travelled less on rough surfaces.
Summarise the results here.
The smooth surfaces caused the car to travel further and the rough surfaces caused the car
to travel less than the smooth surfaces. The carpet was the roughest surfaces while the lab
floor caused the car to travel furthest.