A mousetrap car works on the principle of a lever. One end of the lever is connected to a spring. When a force is used to pull up the other end of the lever up, the spring tightens, storing energy.
What are the physics behind a mousetrap car?
The mousetrap storespotential energyin the form of the spring. That potential energy is converted into kinetic energy in the form of the arm rotating forward. The arm pulls on the wound-up string, which turns the drive wheel dowel, which is connected to the wheels, which makes the car drive forward.
What is the equation for figuring out your speed with the mousetrap car?
The work done on the mousetrap arm is found using the formula W = F d, where F is the force (in Newtons) applied to the mousetrap car spring arm and d is the distance (in m) through which the force is applied.
What forces affect a mousetrap car?
A moving mousetrap car is affected by two type of friction: airfriction and bearing friction. Airfriction is a large factor only with cars that are moving fast and is nearly negligible for slow-moving distance cars; therefore, in this lab you will only take bearing friction into consideration.
How does acceleration affect a mousetrap car?
The first advantage is that it prevents slipping of the drive wheel on the ground/floor as the car accelerates. The second advantage is that the car takes longer to gain speed (accelerate) which results in it traveling farther than a car that gains speed faster.
How does weight affect a mousetrap car?
Mousetrap Vehicles: Weight Distribution Weight distribution can have a large effect on a vehicles performance, if the weight of a vehicle is concentrated to far away from the drive wheels there may be a greater tendency for slippage at the start line.
How does Newtons 3rd law apply to a mousetrap car?
Newton’s Third Law Its K’nex axle and string attached to our mousetrap increase leverage and tension, providing a larger net force. All of these factors contribute to the faster acceleration of our car. The relationship between an object’s mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma.
How do you make a mousetrap car go faster and farther?
friction. Similar to weight, reducing your vehicle’s friction will both increase speed and distance. This is because by reducing the friction of your vehicle, the amount of energy that is wasted into heat is reduced, allowing your vehicle to utilize that extra energy to travel faster and further.
Is friction important in a mousetrap car?
Without friction your mousetrap vehicle would travel forever, learn how to conquer friction. You cannot build a winning mousetrap racer until you know the basics. Perhaps the second most important concept to understand when building a mousetrap powered car is the concept of friction.
How does a mousetrap car use friction?
This is used in the mousetrap car because in order for the mousetrap car to move, the mousetrap provides an unbalanced force that causes it to. Once the car is moving, the friction starts to overcome the original force from the mousetrap which is no longer applied once the lever is pulled all the way down.
How does friction affect a car?
Friction may slow the car down as it moves along the road, but it also is the force that enables the car to move forward at all. It is the friction force that keeps the tires from sliding on the road. By the same token, it is friction that makes the car come to a stop when the brakes are applied.
How do mousetrap cars reduce friction?
Try to have a minimum gap of 1/8 inch between the frame and any spacers (or wheels) in order to decrease any rubbing friction. Use thrust washers and graphite powder between spacers (or wheels) and the frame to help reduce the rubbing friction.
How do you increase the mechanical advantage of a mousetrap car?
What kind of string is best for a mousetrap car?
The string has to be strong enough to handle the pulling force but flexible and thin enough to wind tightly around the drive axle. We recommend using a Kevlar based fishing line because its high strength. You should stay away from nylon fishing line and dental floss, these do not work well with mousetrap racers.
What key features do mousetrap cars have?
A mousetrap car is a model car made from simple materials that is powered by a mousetrap. A mousetrap car can be made from cardboard or balsa wood with CD’s for wheels and axles of wood or brass tubing. Power to drive the wheels is provided by a mousetrap to which a wand and string is attached to the snap arm.
How does Newton’s second law affect a mousetrap car?
Newtons second law of motion will affect our mousetrap car because the more the car weighs the slower it goes. But the less the car weighs the faster it will go because it has less mass so it doesn’t take a big amount of force to move it. – Newtons third law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
What is the effect of using large or small wheels on a mousetrap car?
By changing the size of the drive wheel(s) you can speed-up or slow-down your mousetrap vehicle. Larger diameter drive wheels have a greater travel distance per each turn than compared to smaller diameter drive wheels.
How does rotational inertia affect a mousetrap car?
A mousetrap car cannot move anywhere until the potential energy of the mouse trap’s spring puts energy into the wheels and changes their state of rotation from rest into motion; the more rotational inertia a vehicle has the more energy that will be consumed at the start just to get the vehicle’s wheels turning.
Is 3 or 4 wheels better for a mousetrap car?
So what is better, three wheels or four wheels? The answer depends on the contest, if we are to build a super fast accelerating speed-trap racer then over coming rotational inertia is one of the main objectives therefor three wheels will always do better than four wheels when it comes to performance.
How does the length of the lever arm affect a mousetrap car?
Lever Arm Basics Making the length of the mouse trap’s lever arm longer will decrease the pulling force but increase the amount of string that can be pulling from the drive axle. Shortening the length of the lever arm increases the pulling force but decrease the amount of string that can be pulled from the drive axle.
What is the most important thing to keep in mind when designing a mousetrap car?
The only way to truly understand how to build a mousetrap car is to ask yourself the question “what if I change this?” and then make the change in order to see what will happen. A good engineer knows 99 ways something will not work and one way that it will work great, find that one way!
How does a mousetrap car demonstrate Newton’s first law?
The experiment proves Newton’s first law because the car was in motion with the same speed and direction, until it was acted upon by an unbalanced force (carpet), which made the car slow down.
How much energy is stored in a mousetrap?
The MAXIMUM energy that you could get out of this “standard” mousetrap is approximately 0.815 [J].
What simple machines are in a mousetrap car?
The six simple machines are: the inclined plane, the wedge, the screw, the lever, the wheel and axle, and the pulley. Understanding the principles of these simple machines will help you design your mousetrap vehicle.
What is the fastest mousetrap car design?
The Speed-Trap Racer is the fastest mousetrap powered racer anywhere and was designed after Doc Fizzix’s own record-setting mousetrap racer that traveled 5 meters in 1.2 seconds.