Effect of Gravity on impact

Topics: Energy, Potential energy, Measurement Pages: 4 (1817 words) Published: October 27, 2014

Design Lab Report
This lab is looking at the conservation of energy in moving objects. Research question: How do the height and kinetic energy of an object affect the diameter of its crater when it hits sand? Theory:

The theory being looked at here is the transfer of gravitational potential energy (GPE) to kinetic energy (KE). At a point of drop of an object, the potential energy is equal to the kinetic energy of the object just before it impacts the floor: GPEPosition of drop = KEBefore impact

The measure of the crater that the ball produces after impact should reflect on the change in kinetic energy and its transformation on all the small sand granules around it. If no energy is lost, all the KE of the ball should go into the sand granules and each granule should have a small amount of KE, that adds up to the same amount from the ball when all granules are grouped Potentially the energy transformation should go:

GPEBall KEBall KESand granules.
Essentially an increase in GPEBall will also transfer into a larger KEBall, and thus larger KE per sand granule as well. The distance the granules move should increase as height does too. Hypothesis:

My prediction is that as the height of where the ball is dropped increases, the diameter of the crater will also increase. However I do not believe that the kinetic energy of the drop will be directly proportional to the diameter of the crater and there will be a limit to its proportionality. The ball can only transfer so much KE to a small amount of small granules that it doesn’t seem like it can be proportional. Not only this but energy might be lost to thermal and sound energy, however that isn’t a main concern to affecting the proportionality. Variables

Controlled Variable Independent Variable Dependent Variable
Variable The controlled variable in this case is the type of ball that is used. This includes the diameter, weight and density of the ball. The amount of sand is also something to be...
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