Mouse trap race car

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Mouse trap race car

  1. 1. Educator Note:Use the following sites to obtain print outs of one or more designs to be shared among the students. These designs should be used to discuss the general components and universal construction techniques needed to assemble a basic mousetrap car.<br />MATERIALS<br />Mousetrap (about 2 inches by 4 inches) <br />Maximum $5.00 value of construction materials <br />Protective eye gear <br />Sturdy candy box <br />Tools for constructing car <br />Meter stick (for measuring race track) <br />Stopwatch to time the cars <br />Video camcorder (optional) <br />PROCEDUREPart 1- Candy Box Design<br />Work with a partner. Examine the images of mousetrap cars that have been printed out by your instructor.<br />With the entire class, discuss the basic elements of designing a mousetrap car. Make a list. What design elements should be common to all cars? What is the sequence for assembly? Is there only one way to build a mousetrap car? Which parts of the design can be customized? Share your ideas.<br />Break up into teams. Your first challenge is to build a non-powered vehicle. To get you started in the basic design, you'll use a flat, rectangular candy box. Since these boxes are constructed with heavy stock material, they will offer a stable platform on which to attach the trap and assemble the vehicle.<br />Discuss the placement and type of wheels that you will use. Will your car be supported by four wheels or will it have a tricycle design? Do large wheels work better than small ones? Does wheel width affect performance?<br />Use what you've learned to create a blueprint for your prototype mousetrap car. Don't be extravagant. Keep the design simple. Remember, this first test car is not powered.<br />Discuss your blueprints with your instructor. With you teacher's approval assemble this non-powered vehicle.<br />After testing your vehicle by pushing it along the ground, improve its performance. What changes can result in a more stable and longer traveling vehicle? How can those changes be implemented? With your instructor's approval, update your design.<br />Part 2- The Power Plant As you learned, the energy needed to propel the mousetrap car comes from the spring of the trap. When the spring is pulled back, it stores energy. With a controlled release of this tension, the energy can be transferred into the spin of the car's axle.<br />Review the design printouts so that you understand the nature and action of the mousetrap.<br />Compose a new blueprint that shows the placement of the mousetrap on your candy box chassis. Include any design changes that are necessary to accommodate a pull string. Remember, one end of the pull string is tied to the spring bar of the trap. The free end is wrapped around the power axle. As the mousetrap spring shuts close, the movement of the controlled release is transferred to the spin of the axle.<br />Share this updated blueprint with your instructor. With his or her approval, assemble this powered version of the mousetrap car. Make sure that you adhere to the construction techniques and design you identified in your blueprints.<br />Test the design. Does the car travel the fixed distance of the track (5 meters)? How long does the car take to travel this distance? How can it move quicker? Where is energy lost? How can the action of the mousetrap more efficiently be converted into movement of the car? Think about these parameters. Redesign your car to test these factors and improve its performance.<br />Think about it. Can you gain an advantage with a longer "pull bar"? Will leverage increase the effectiveness of the mousetrap action? With you instructor's approval, design an experiment that would test if an extended bar would produce a more efficient car, then build your design.<br />Mousetrap car is an innovative vehicle which has the motive power coming from a mousetrap. Yes, mouse trap, as in traps for catching mice. Interesting, isn't it? These mouse trap cars are very commonly used while teaching physics and help students know and understand physical science techniques and also helps in their science fair projects. It also contributes in building problem solving skills, developing spatial awareness time management in students. This project thus has a lot of benefits for students and to top it all, it infuses a sense of co-operation if a team is doing it. In case this intrigues you, the text below would probably quench your thirst of knowledge about mouse trap cars.Mouse Trap Vehicle Structure and Design This vehicle can have multiple mouse traps or huge mouse traps for added power. Four wheeled cars are very common, but there are 3 wheeled cars as well. For increasing the distance the car can travel can be done by replacing the string which pulls the axle with the help of a rubber band. This car is powered by a helical torsion spring attached to a mouse trap. Consequently when you assemble a mouse trap, the spring is primarily twisted beyond its equilibrium so that it applies significant torque to the bar after the trap is closed. Torque, is the tendency of the force to to rotate an object. The mousetrap bar, travels through an arc of around 180 degrees and that motion has to be applied and used to move the car's axle or wheels. If you do not want to do all this or in short start from scratch, these days you even get ready made kits where you just have to assemble the mousetrap car. There would be instructions given, so you need not think about scary things like torsion, friction, torque and so on! Now lets move on to actually making it and see how to build a mouse trap car. Read onmousetrap car.Mouse trap Car Step by Step InstructionsStep #1Gather the material needed for a mousetrap car. You can use different set of materials. But this one will be built using a mouse trap, 4 eye hooks, 6 balloons, 2 Bic pens (the smooth kind), 2 tops from pop cans (for the serious perhaps washers, or otherwise any other bendable metal), some string, 4 CDs/DVDs (expendable ones), 3 CDRs and a blank transparent thing from the top of a spindle. Step #2Make the sketch pens into hollow plastic cylinders by pulling the front and the back out of them. Then, what you need to do is taking the balloons, cut their top and bottom off. Stretch them over 2 CD's. These are going to be your back wheels. This will help in traction as just CD's will be very slippery.Step #3Take stock of whether the eye hooks fit over the pens. They cannot be 'just about there' as then they would not rotate. What we want is that they fit in a way which keeps them loose enough to rotate easily. However, they should not be lose enough as to rattle out loud. If they do not, just make sure you slightly bend them, leading them to rattle a bit. Amongst mousetrap car building instructions, this is a crucial one. As the wheels are dependent on this step.Step #4Approximately, anticipate the center of one of those Bic pens and make a hole on that point. It has to be big enough to take the string. An easy way to do this is to screw the eye hook in the pen and taking it out. Step #5Take the pen and push the string into it. Take it out on one of the sides. When the string is enough through the pen, tie something to the other end. Pull it back through and ensure that the object or knot stops against the other side of hole.Step #6Now along with the short sides, screw the 4 eyelets in the mouse trap. Try and maintain the depth, about the same. This will help the axle later going through them is somewhat straight. Take care that you do not crack the mouse trap more than required. This is very important when it comes to mouse trap car instructions.Step #7Insert the front axle - the hollow pen, by pushing it through pop tabs. Pinch them to the pen to keep the pen moving sideways and to keep those tabs stable. Further, to help them spin more freely, bend them away from the eyelets enough. Make sure it rotates properly.Step #8Now is the time for front wheels. Wrapping a balloon around the pen fixed in the earlier step, try to fold it in a way that it is seems something like a wedge on the edge of the pen. Then rotate one of the CD's sans balloons on them on it. The direction should be the same in which you wrapped the balloon and wedge it on the pen. Point it as straight as possible and stable in connection with the trap. Do the same thing with the other end of the pen for your mouse trap car. Step #9It is the turn for the rear axle. For that push the pen, including the string into eyelets at the back. Let the strings be pulled through the eyelets to get them between the eyelets. In case you want to widen them, slide them through the gap. Follow that by tying the string to the top of the flap. This flap will move as the trap springs.Step #10The rear wheels are to be attached exactly like the front wheels. Then, gently turn the back wheels in the backward direction. To be sure of the direction, put the mousetrap car on a surface and ten pull it backward. Raise the flap slightly when it starts to catch and keep turning till the trap starts loading. Continue doing this, until it is pulled, all the way back. Hitch it as you would generally do while setting up a mouse trap. One of the important mousetrap car tips is that here take a bit of care. If the string snaps, the trap will close in a jiffy and anything in its way will get hit. Thus avoid getting in that 'ouch' position by being careful.Step #11Ultimately, to make your mouse trap car mobile, tap the trigger and there you go! If the wheels seem flimsy and stable, readjust them, get them straighter and give it another shot. Hopefully, this time it should be well on its way, if at all it didn't for the first run!Mousetrap car can be made from absolutely anything you use daily, except for the mouse trap, which has to be there! Of course, you can have variations and make it more sophisticated using high tech tool and the likes!Finally, here I end my treatise or rather something resembling a thesis on mouse trap car!<br />PHYSICS ANALYSIS OF YOUR PROJECT     <br />Answer the following questions completely (include formulas and/or calculations where appropriate). Your answers may be written or typed.<br /> <br />1. What are the two types of friction that affect the performance of your vehicle?<br />2. What problems related to friction did you encounter and how did you solve them?<br />3. What factors did you take into account to decide the number of wheels you chose in your design?<br />4. What kind of wheels did you use in each axle? What is the effect of using large or small wheels?<br />5. Explain how Newton's first, second and third  laws apply to the performance of your vehicle.<br />6. Discuss the effect of the length of the lever arm in the pulling force of your vehicle.<br />7. How is the balance of a wheel, around its center, related to the vehicle’s performance?<br />8. How does the distribution of weight of the vehicle affect the traction of the wheels?<br />9. Discuss the major problems encountered in the performance of your vehicle and what did you do to solve them.<br />NOTE: Your report is due the same day as your car.<br />

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