mouse trap car, racer, boat, vehicle propulsion theory

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Doc Fizzix has a degree in Physics from the University of Minnesota, and has been teaching physics at McNeil High School in Round Rock, Texas since 1991. He has appeared on several nationally-aired television shows and is considered the foremost expert on mouse-trap-car-ology. If you buy any resource related to mousetrap vehicles, make it mouse trap Cars: The Secrets to Success, the best book on mouse trap vehicles and the only resource guaranteed to make you a winner!

 

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How to make a mousetrap racer move?

A mousetrap powered car, racer, or boat is a vehicle that uses a mouse trap for an energy source. There are many different designs for making a winning vehicle but the most common and probably the most successful idea is to attach a string to the mousetrap's "snapper arm" and hook that string to an axle.

In this method one end of a string is attached or tied to the snapper arm on the mousetrap and the other end of the string is wound around an axle. By winding the string around the axle the mousetrap's spring is stretched and stores energy. As the mousetrap car is released the mousetrap pulls the string off of the axle causing the wheels to turn and off the vehicle goes.

mousetrap racer basic propulsion theory

getting started 1

Step #1A string is attached to the mousetrap's lever arm and them attached to the drive axle. Notice that the string has a loop tied at the axle end; this loop is caught by a hook on the axle so that the string is attached to the axle BUT is allowed to release from the axle after the pulling force is spent. It is important to have a hook on the axle or the string will not be able to pull on anything and will simple slip of the axle with out propelling the vehicle. Keep in mind that the hook must be short or it will re-catch the string and cause the vehicle to stop.

getting started 2

Step #2Wind the wheels in the direction opposite to the motion you want the mousetrap racer to travel, this will wind the string around the axle. Do not to wind the string loosely or it will snag itself. Do not push on the mousetrap's lever arm during this process, you want the string to be tight and to pull the lever arm over.

getting started 3

Step #3Once the axle is released, the string is pulled off the axle and this will cause the wheels to rotate propelling the vehical. If the mousetrap is located to close to the drive axle the wheels can spin at the start wasting energy. If the mousetrap is located too far from the drive axle there will not be enough pulling force to propel the racer to the finish. It is important to try the mousetrap in several locations from the drive axle in order to find your racers best performance.

 

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