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# The Mechanics behind a Mousetrap Car Essay Sample

## The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie Essay

❶Applying these principles helped in making mousetrap car more efficient.

## The Mechanics behind a Mousetrap Car Essay Sample

The cars we will test will be made of common and inexpensive materials. The design of the cars will consist of simple wheel and axel setups and a lever; two simple machines that can be used to cause forward movement. The means of propulsion for our cars will be spring-loaded mousetrap with a length of string that connects to the axel supporting the wheels being tested.

As the trap is set the lever will pull the line and thus rotate the axel causing movement. The size of the wheel should have a direct relationship with the distance that the car will travel. Small wheels will require more revolutions to move the same distance while large wheels will require more torque to make them begin to turn.

The goal of the project is to find the most efficient use of the energy provided by the mousetrap for both speed and distance by adjusting the size of the wheel. A mousetrap car is a combination of two simple machines designed to operate much like a gas-powered car. However, a mousetrap is used instead of an internal combustion engine for the motor.

The end of the string on the mousetrap is tied to the arm of the trap while the opposite end is wound around the axle. The pulling force of the arm turns the potential energy into kinetic energy, causing the wheels to turn and boosting the vehicle. The mousetrap will provide a limited amount energy that the car can use as propulsion force that causes forward movement.

The length of the string connecting the lever on the trap to the axel will remain constant through out the duration of the experiment. This will ensure that each of the wheel sizes will receive the same amount of energy. The wheels will also be made of the same material so that each will have the same traction, be about the same weight, and attach to the axel in a similar fashion. Since the radius is directly proportional to the circumference, larger diameter will obviously have larger circumferences.

This is important because the circumference the part that actually touches the track. The larger the circumference of the wheel is as compared to the radius of the axel, the more mechanical advantage the wheel will have.

Mechanical advantage is a phenomenon that increases the efficiency of a simple machine. Engineers try to design cars that make the most of this force when designing cars and other motor vehicles. A circumference of five inches will travel 25 inches in five revolutions while a circumference of three inches will travel only 15 inches with the same number of revolutions. The larger wheels seem to make more efficient use of the revolutions provided by the springing mousetrap.

However the larger diameter also requires more energy to make them revolve. The energy required to turn an axel is known as torque. The more torque an engine or a mousetrap can provide, the faster the car will accelerate. Acceleration is also important to the efficiency of the mousetrap car. The faster a car can accelerate, the more momentum it can build up. Momentum is a force that keeps moving objects moving in the same general direction and force until some outside force acts upon the object.

Momentum will conserve the energy from the mousetrap while providing thrust. If the wheels are too small, the axels will have to revolve more times to build up any significant momentum.

If they are too large, they will require much more torque, which would reduce the amount of energy available to turn the axel once momentum is built up. Friction also plays a major role in the performance of mousetrap-powered cars. This traction helps the wheels to propel the cars across further distances and at greater speeds. However, friction can also occur between the axles and the cars, which can be detrimental to performance.

The spring has two arms. One of them is an arm which has to be fixed to the frame the other one is the one that is pushed and which moves. Fixing one of the arms to the frame is a little problem. We placed an aluminum strip and screwed it on to the frame making one of the arm fixed. The other end is left free. The wheels have to be fitted to the wooden frame. Two steel rods of about 6mm in diameter are taken. We used 4 compact disks CDs as wheels.

Attaching the wheels CDs to the steel rod was a problem initially. We attached wooden pieces to cover the hole in the CD using epoxy. We drilled a hole of 6mm in the wood such that it is the centre of the CD.

The rod is inserted into the hole drilled in the wooden portion of the CD. Epoxy is used to keep the wheel and rod intact. The wheels which are paired using the steel rods are attached to front and rear ends of the wooden mouse trap by making grooves.

These rods have to be fitted properly to the wooden frame work. The rods should be able to rotate freely. A string is attached to the free arm of the spring in the mouse trap. The other end is wound around the axle 6mm steel rod of the rear wheels.

The free arm is pushed making it store energy as potential energy in the spring. When the spring unwinds, it rotates the axle around which the string is wound. This makes the wheel rotate which moves the mousetrap car move forward. We have few problems in this process. The string has to be wound tightly round the axle. If it is slack it just loosens without rotating the axle. The string should be rough enough to prevent slippery between the axle and string failing which the car does not move.

After all the above measures if the floor is too smooth the wheel slips. This need not be done if the floor is rough enough. When we want to run the car, the arm of the spring has to be pushed and the string has to be wound round the axle 6mm steel rod ensuring that there is no slack.

When the car is released the string unwinds rotating the axle 6mm steel rod making the car move. The speed and the distance traveled by the mousetrap car depends on inertia of the car. As it is known mass is the measure of inertia. The lesser the inertia the faster and longer it travels. We have from Newtons laws that a body having less mass accelerates more which implies it has higher velocity and travels more distance before coming to rest. So we tried to decrease the mass by removing unnecessary wooden material.

Though there was no huge difference observed there is still a difference. Instead of using big CDs we can use small CDs or wheels if we want better speed rather than longer distance.

Big CDs have larger moment of inertia compared to smaller CDs since the radius is larger. We know that Torque is product of rotational inertia and angular acceleration. If the rotational inertia is less for same torque the wheel has high angular acceleration making it rotate at high angular velocities.

One may say that though the angular velocity is higher the radius is small leading to decrease in velocity. But the increase in angular velocity is high enough to compensate the decrease in radius of the wheel. This results in a faster car compared to the car with big wheels. We can also employ gears to change the amount of torque applied and duration of the Torque.

Since the size of the wheel is larger than the axle there will be more torque but for a lesser duration compared to torque applied to axle directly. This design travels faster initially compared to the axle configuration.

So if the times are measured for some distance traveled. The design with wheel attached to axle wins. Retrieved 18 th January, from: Retrieved 19 th January, from:. We can write a custom essay. Energy drinks refers to any soft drink containing a high percentage of sugar, caffeine, or another stimulant, typically consumed during or after sporting activity or as a way of overcoming tiredness.

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## Main Topics

Mousetrap Car Essay The Mousetrap Race Car Project demonstrated an individual(s) potential of a skill to manufacture the most capable mousetrap car with the use of levers and pulleys; so that they willingly categorize their car for the primary usage for SPEED, DISTANCE, and STRENGTH. Some may try to make all the aspects into one design.

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A mousetrap car is a combination of two simple machines designed to operate much like a gas-powered car. However, a mousetrap is used instead of an internal combustion engine for the motor. The most common design involves positioning the mousetrap on the chassis of the cars and attaching an extended lever on the trap to one of the car’s axles.