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High Road/Low Road
# 1D15.20

Description: This demonstrates that even though the low path is longer, its the way the object's potential energy is converted to mechanical energy that "wins the race".

Both balls begin and end at the same height. One ball travels on a low hilly path and the other on a straight incline. The ball traveling the low path converts more of its potential energy to kinetic energy. This gives it enough extra velocity to make it to the end faster even though it must travel farther.

Instructions: Use a board or book to start both balls at the same time. Have the students predict which ball will reach the end first.

Hazards: The balls in this demo are fairly heavy, so watch those feet!

Parts: High road/Low road track
Two balls

Purchased/Built: built

Quant. in Demo Room: 1

Demo References
The American Journal of Physics AJP 51(1),132 Two objects start at the same velocity, one moves straight to the finish, the other traverses a valley. The problem: which wins?

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