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Physics/rolling car


Hello Mr. Kovalcin,

I am a high schooler. I have a question. What factors affect a car's distance when it is rolling down a ramp. How does the ramp height affect the distance of the car? Please answer these two questions quickly!! Thank you for your help.

The higher the maximum height of the ramp, the farther the car will roll. Essentially, a car at the top of the ramp has gravitational potential energy, the ability to do work because an object has height. Ad the car rolls down th ramp this gravitational potential energy is converted to work moving the car forward. The higher the ramp the greater the potential energy and so the farther the car will roll before friction brings the car to,rest.
The initial gravitational energy GPE will be equal to the work W done by the frictional force Ff.
m*g*h = Ff*d
Where d is the distance the car will roll before stopping.


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James J. Kovalcin


I am teaching or have taught AP physics B and C [calculus based mechanics & electricity and magnetism] as well as Lab Physics for college bound students. I have a BS in Physics from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Arts in Teaching from same. I have been teaching physics for 34 years. I am constantly updating my skills and have a particular interest in modern physics topics.

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