Mousetrap Car

Topics: Wheel, Force, Simple machine Pages: 4 (1241 words) Published: February 7, 2013

The purpose of this project is to determine the effect the size of an automobile’s wheel radius will have on that vehicle’s performance. To determine this, the distance a car travels when tested with the same propulsion force but different wheel diameter is measured. We expect that there will be an optimum size that should be utilized in order to achieve maximum efficiency. A larger or smaller wheel size should change the distance that the car will travel. 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 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 by using a length of string. 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. When the mousetrap is “loaded,” potential energy is stored. The pulling force of the arm turns the potential energy into...
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