morgans science fair
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Marble roller coaster

Postby morgans science fair » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:13 pm

My daughter is working on a Marble Roller Coaster science fair project for 5th grade.
She has a few questions in reference to her project.
•When is the marble gaining energy?
•When is the marble storing energy?
•When does it transfer from stored energy to kinetic energy?
We would like to know if it is happening during the roll down the coaster or during the lift?
Please help!
Thank you

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Re: Marble roller coaster

Postby kgudger » Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:59 am

Hello and welcome to the forums

It sounds like you might want to review potential versus kinetic energy. You can find several good sources of information on the web, such as Wikipedia:

Here's a summary of Potential Energy:
Potential energy is often associated with restoring forces such as a spring or the force of gravity. The action of stretching the spring or lifting the mass is performed by an external force that works against the force field of the potential. This work is stored in the force field, which is said to be stored as potential energy. If the external force is removed the force field acts on the body to perform the work as it moves the body back to the initial position, reducing the stretch of the spring or causing a body to fall.

As you lift the marble (with kinetic energy) you increase the marble's potential energy.
When the marble drops, potential energy is converted into kinetic energy.
If the marble is closer to the earth, its potential energy is less and has been transformed into kinetic energy.

Best, Keith

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