“Which ball is moving the fastest at the bottom?” asks Dr. Bruce Denardo as he stands with a four ramp physics demonstration apparatus in this Naval Postgraduate School physics department video.
“Energy conservation gives the answer because all of the balls are released from rest and descend through the same height. They lose the same gravitational potential energy so they will all gain the same kinetic energy. So all of the final speeds must be the same.
One way we can check this is that we can release the balls from rest at the top of the ramp, then they’ll be projected horizontally at the bottom and travel downward and strike the floor. We can measure the distance that they travel and confirm that the speeds are the same.”
Will the distances be consistent? One of these things is not like the other. Which ramp is different and how?
In physics and chemistry, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant; it is said to be conserved over time. This law, first proposed and tested by Émilie du Châtelet, means that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.
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