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Sand/rice/gravel trap investigation

  1. Apr 2, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I have recently carried out an investigation on how a trolley is decelerated by a material "escape lane" similar to how racing cars are stopped off the racetrack.

    I have already looked at the relationship between the entry speed and the distance traveled, this was a proportional relationship. However I feel that there are not many other variables that i can analyze. Can anyone point me to any relevant factors/physics which can be looked at?

    2. Relevant equations
    I have found that the speed of entry is proportional to distance traveled, which suggests that the deceleration force is not constant, (if it were, the acceleration would be constant and it would be v^2 which was proportional to distance).

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I feel that there are a few more factors which could influence the deceleration such as the depth of the material trap, the type of material used, and the mass of the trolley used. Although I cannot see what areas of physics this could be linked with (conservation of energy? differential equations of motion?) thanks in advance
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2007 #2
    acceleration = v*(dv/ds) so it is proportional to distance.
  4. Apr 2, 2007 #3


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    Gold Member

    You should be taking the mass of the object you're slowing into account as well.

    A heavier object travelling at the same speed as a lighter one will take longer to slow down because it has more energy and more momentum.
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