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Recently I conducted an experiment at school to see if mass affected the distance travelled by a car after reaching the bottom of the ramp. We used the same toy car and placed different weights on the car, releasing it from a marked line on the ramp. After collecting our data we found that the heavier the toy car the smaller the distance travelled by the car, after reaching the bottom of the ramp. What is the scientific explanation for this result? Why does this happen?

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    $\begingroup$ Best guess for me is design flaw which is causing an unknown friction or drag with added mass. Think of an axle pressing against the wheel when pushed downwards. $\endgroup$
    – bleuofblue
    Apr 6, 2022 at 7:56
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    $\begingroup$ It is difficult to say what might be the reason for results you are seeing. In the simple model of friction force we use, coefficient of friction does not depend on mass, and the final velocity should be the same in both cases. For us to be able to comment, you should provide numbers from your experiments and description of the equipment (car and ramp) used. $\endgroup$ Apr 6, 2022 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ What sort of wheels does your toy car have? rubber or solid? $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Apr 6, 2022 at 10:46
  • $\begingroup$ It would help to post photographs of the cars with detailed explanations of their parts and construction. Include how weight is added. $\endgroup$
    – Mark H
    Aug 28, 2023 at 1:27

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Theoretically speaking, mass doesn't affect the motion. But in the real case scenario, there are other losses that are not included in the ideal case, such as heavier mass will cause more distortion to the shape of the vehicle and its wheel which in turn causes in variation in drag and friction force which might be the reason for your observation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Aug 28, 2023 at 2:26
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IT doesn't matter how heavier the car is by the time it reaches the end of the ramp the momentum carries it further however many weights are added. It is the same as gravity it will carry the object at the same speed as the other object.

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