AP Physics 1‎ > ‎Unit 1‎ > ‎

Stopping Distance Lab

Stopping Distance Lab

Purpose:

In this activity you will be examining the relationship between initial speed and stopping distance.  You will also be looking at the effect of mass and road surfaces on this relationship.

Part 1: Learning the program

  1. Open up the program you will be using in this lab in a new tab.  The program can be found here.

  2. Play around with this program so that you are able to change the road and tire surfaces, increase or decrease the speed or mass of the car.

  3. Get a hang of what you are suppose to do by clicking on the start button and watch the car move along the road at the given speed.  When the stop sign comes up you are to hit the break button as quickly as possible.

  4. Below is screen shot of what your display should look like after you stop.  The roadway turns red starting at the position of the front of your car at the moment the stop sign appears.  The metric scale appears at the position of the front edge of your car at the moment you hit the brakes.  Although it will not affect your final results, you want to try to minimize your reaction time.



  5. As you work through this lab, it will keep track of your average reaction time.  If you want to reload the program before you start part 2, that is okay, but once you start the lab you should not reload the program again.

  6. Set your car mass to 1000 kg and the speed of the car to 10 m/s.

  7. Create a data table that shows the type of surface and the distance required to stop on that surface.  Then collect data for each available combination of tire and surface keeping the speed at 10 m/s and the mass at 1000 kg.  

  8. You will not be graphing this data, but I do want you to rank the surfaces based on their danger level.  Give the most dangerous surface a 1 and then continue to number the surfaces until you get to the safest surface.  That will be given your highest number.

Part 2: Stopping Distance vs. Speed (Dry road/New Tires)

  1. Set the mass of the car to 1000 kg, the road surface to dry road/new tires.  Don't adjust either of these parameters until you are done this part of the lab.

  2. Collect and record in a data table the stopping distances for 10 different speeds.  Feel free to zoom in to get a better value of stopping distance.  

  3. Make a graph of your data and then find the mathematical relationship for this experiment.  Copy the graph into your lab book.

Part 3: Effect of Road Surface

  1. Pick a new surface and repeat everything you did in part 2 as discussed in the steps below.

  2. With your mass still at 1000 kg, collect and record in a data table the stopping distances for 10 different speeds.  Feel free to zoom in to get a better value of stopping distance.  

  3. Make a new data set on the graph you created in part 2.  Graph of your new data on the same axes as the old data and then find the mathematical relationship for this experiment.  Copy the graph onto the previous graph in your lab book.

Part 4: Effect of Mass

  1. Set the speed of the car to 15 m/s and the road surface to any of the surfaces that you would like to use.

  2. Collect and record in a data table the stopping distances for 5 different masses.  Feel free to zoom in to get a better value of stopping distance.  

  3. Make a graph of your data and then find the mathematical relationship for this experiment.  Copy the graph into your lab book.

  4. Answer the questions on this lab that are found here.

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