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Physics-Mousetrap Car

Being able to understand the he fundamental physics of the mouse trap car which is a car that runs on the potential energy of the mouse trap's snap.

Miguel Mota

on 20 May 2011

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Transcript of Physics-Mousetrap Car

MOUSE TRAP CAR History It was known as... Before it was a mousetrap car it was simply a mousetrap. The history of the mousetrap car is uncertain but here are some very interesting facts on how the mousetrap came to be. The very first Mousetrap the little nipper Founded Britain Invented by... James Henry Atkinson Brief Description The objective of the mousetrap car is for the mousetrap to transfer energy to the car and act as a motor.The string is winded up around the axel causing the mousetrap’s spring to be stretched which stores energy. Once the spring is activated the string is pulled and the axel rotates the wheels causing the car to move forward. Very effective mousetrap car!!! XO Physics When the mousetrap car is moving along the floor it is experiencing two types of friction; surface friction and air resistance tire floor These arrows indicate that the two surfaces are going against eachother. ok maybe it wasnt that interesting :P Surface Friction Air Resistance Newton's 1st Law: An object in motion stays in motion at a constant speed in a straight line, unless acted upon an outside force. Newtons 2nd Law: Acceleration is inversely proportional to mass and proportional to the force. Newtons 3rd Law: For every force there is an equal but opposite reaction. In this case the mousetrap car is at rest until the mousetrap's force moves it. The mousetrap will eventually change because of outside forces acting on it.To keep the car in motion for a longer period of time the car will have to neglect as much friction as possible. This shows that mass vs acceleration is important because the smaller the mass the faster the acceleration.The same concept works in reverse. Also,the car will only be able to move due to unbalanced forces which are speed and direction which have to be greater than the outside forces against it. The force of the car will have to equal the force of the air exerting on the car.The force however, is moving the oppsoite direction of the mousetrap car because it is being pushed back by the air, eventually having to stop.The more force the mousetrap exerts will cause the car to travel further. Also,the car's force has to be equal to the grounds force in order for it to stay at rest or move forward. How it relates... How it relates... How it relates... Potential and Kinetice Energy Newton's Three Law's of Motion The string which is attached to both the spring and the axel is the key factor that holds the potential energy. But mainly the potential energy is stored up in the spring of the mousetrap when it is pulled back. EVentually, the potential energy will be converted into kinetic energy once the trap is activated. The reason why the energy is so immense is because the further the bar is pulled the more energy it stores to convert it into kinetice energy. Therefore, by adding an extension to it, it will store more potential energy because the extension is also being pulled back creating more tension. The kinetic energy will then cause the car to move forward. It is not equal to the potential energy though because in order for the system to have mechanical energy it has to conserve the enregy which means it cant be disturbed by an outside force such as air friction.However,the energy is neither lost or destroyed but transformed into a different form of matter such as heat or sound which removes energy of the motion. This ice cube for example, shows that its potential energy converted into kinetic energy which melted the ice. However,the potential energy still exists in the melted ice as it eventually converts again to kinetice energy that will then evaporate. The process will keep cycling never losing its potential energy because the energy was neither created or destroyed and therefeore it will always exist. Law of Conservation of Energy Friction Also some factors of friction that are rarely mentioned from the mousetrap car are heat and sound. They are considered as friction because the car emits heat that we can feel and sound that we are able to hear. The reason is because the potential energy that the mousetrap stored was converted into different components but thats a whole different topic. Heat & Sound Centripetal Motion By knowing the frequency of the wheels it can determine the speed of the car and its centripetal force. This arrow represents the accelration of the wheel because the center is always changing direction as it moves in its circular path. However its velocity is not changing because it is always moving at a constant speed. It is also experiencing a net force towards the center of the circle which causes the wheel to change direction. The velocity vector's direction is in the same direction of the wheel's motion therefore, the velocity vector has to be tangent to the circle. How to Calculate Centripetal Force Benefits/Significance It is rumored that the mousetrap car helped innovate the idea of creating hybrid cars. This benefits the environment because people will soon have to rely on hybrids because of raising gas prices. Also it benefits the student by enhancing their knowledge in physics and heres on satasfied customer who says, " By learning the physics of a mousetrap car, my intellegence grew based on physics and i was able to explain it to some girls which later on I hooked up with impressed with my skills." Allright! Proposal/Results The first mousetrap I made was not effevtive at all. Even though it was only an expirement it was not stable and performed horribly. Only because the base was made out of a beer can which was flattened and cut into pieces to make the base. So I thought I knew how to make my model and blindly created the model without a plan. Again the project failed because the car was now heavier and was not able to take off. Also. the pieces for the base were big and heavy which made the car unstable. Until I was finally able to get all the research I was able to create an easier but effective model that can perform well. I did this by using the mousetrap as the base that way it would have less weight. Then I used balsa wood on the sides to hold the axels with a width of 1/2" and a lenght of 7 ", making the car lighter and efficient. By efficient I mean that by making it the length of 7 " it will be able to pull more string along with attaching a long lever which stored more potential energy. After testing it the results were that it traveled faster and performed well.I thnk the most effective way to conquer this project is by reducing as much friiction as possible and by making a very ligt model. 7/8 7/8
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