The gain of kinetic energy - Sample Essay

To investigate how gravitational potential energy in a ball bearing is transformed into kinetic energy when it is released from rest at the top of a runway and it slides to the bottom and rolls on the bench along a distance of 1 metre. Prediction As energy can’t be created or destroyed, the amount of kinetic energy the ball bearing would gain as dropped from the runway should be the same as the amount of gravitational potential energy it stored. HOWEVER.

Because the ball bearing would lose energy in the form of sound as if it is released from the runway when it rolls, the input energy wouldn’t be the same as the output energy but slightly less. Procedure  A ball bearing is released from rest at the top of the runway and it will lose gravitational potential energy and gain kinetic energy as it rolls from the top of the bottom. When it reaches the bottom it should roll along the bench at a constant speed as long as the bench is horizontal.

The speed, v , can be found by measuring the time it takes for the ball bearing to travel a distance of 1m.If the mass of the ball bearing is m kg , then loss of gravitational potential energy = mi?? gi?? h Whereas  The gain of kinetic energy = 1/2i?? mi?? vi?? (h in metres, v in m/s & g= 10N/ kg) Method  First, we set the apparatus shown in the diagram. After that, we set the height (h) to 5cm initially and measured this distance as accurately as we possibly could.

Then we released a ball bearing at the top of the runway and as it reached the bottom, we recorded the time it rolled through a distance of 1m along the bench. We then repeated the measurement two more times to obtain an average time to make the results more accurate.  We then increased the height (h) in steps of about 2cm, each time taking three measurements of the time taken for the ball bearing to roll 1m along the bench.

We continued this till we had obtained measurements for 10 different values of (h) – 0. 05m, 0. 07,m, 0. 09m, 0. 11cm. . . 0.23m  Moving on, we measured the mass of the ball bearing so we could use it in the formula Ep = mgh & Ek = 1/2mvi?? to calculate the loss in gravitational potential energy and gain in kinetic energy.  Finally, we plotted a graph of the gain of kinetic energy (1/2mvi?? ) on the vertical axis against the loss of gravitational potential energy (mgh) on the horizontal axis. .

Diagram Measurements A graph of the gain of kinetic energy against the loss of gravitational potential energy when a ball bearing is released at the top and it reaches the bottom and roles through a distance of 1m along the table. Gravitational Potential Energy Kinetic Energy Conclusion Theoretically, my prediction was correct as my results supported it. The gravitational potential energy lost by the ball bearing when it rolled down the runway and onto the bench, wasn’t the same as the kinetic energy gained but slightly less, for most measurements.

This is because the ball bearing lost energy in the form of sound and heat as it came in contact with the runway sides when it was sliding downwards on to the bench. However, the reason why not all my points don’t lie on my line of best fit was due to measurement errors while I was doing the experiment or plotting a graph.

These errors would have been occurred  while timing the ball bearing (rolling a distance of 1m along the bench) due to inconsistent human reflexes,  by not making sure the height is set correctly by pushing the ball bearing down the runway instead of just releasing the ball bearing from the highest point on the runway but further down  by releasing the ball bearing in the air on the top of the runway instead of releasing it from rest in contact with the runway floor.