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Mouse Trap Car General Objective To construct a car powered solely by the energy of one standard- sized mousetrap that will travel the greatest linear distance. The car works when one end of a string is tied to the arm of the mousetrap and the other end is wound around an axle. When winding the string around the axle, the mousetrap’s spring is stretched providing stored energy. As the mousetrap is released, it pulls the string off the axle causing the wheels to turn and making the car move. Project Rules 1. The device must be powered by a single standard-sized mousetrap. Not a rat trap. 2. The mousetrap cannot be physically altered except for the following: a. Up to four holes may be drilled in the mousetrap for the purpose of attaching it to the car. b. A lever may be attached to the spring mechanism to attach the string. 3. The spring cannot be physically altered in any way. 4. The spring cannot be wound more than its normal travel distance (180°). 5. Wheels must be constructed from something not originally intended to be wheels. 6. The car cannot have any additional potential or kinetic energy at the start other than that stored in the mousetrap. 7. Cars must be self-starting. They may not be pushed in any way. 8. The vehicle must travel in a straight line for a minimum of 5 meters. 9. The car that travels the greatest distance in each class period, will receive a bonus of ten points on the grade. 10. The car is due and must be completed and brought to your class period on Tuesday, February 1, to avoid a 20 point deduction. If you are present any part of that day and do not bring in your car, you will receive the deduction. If the car is still not turned in on February 2, you will receive an additional 20 point deduction and 10 points a day thereafter. 11. Cars will go through their trials on February 2. 12. This is a test grade. 13. Remember to record all appropriate data in your lab journal. Additional Requirements for Pre-AP Physics (Answer/complete the following questions/instructions. This portion of the assignment will count for 30% of the total grade.) 1. What are two types of friction that affect the performance of your car? 2. What problems related to friction did you encounter and how did you solve them? 3. How many wheels does your car have? What factors did you take into account to decide the number of wheels? 4. What kind of wheels did you use on each axle? What was the effect of using large or small wheels? 5. Explain how Newton’s first, second, and third laws apply to the performance of the car. 6. Discuss the effect of the length of the lever arm in the performance of the car. 7. Discuss how the length of the lever arm is related to the power output of the car. 8. How does the distribution of the weight of the car affect the traction of the wheels? 9. Discuss the major problems encountered in the performance of your car and what you did to solve them. 10. Calculate two of the following values. Include all data, measurements, and methods used to determine the value. Keep in mind that some of these will require data to be collected when we do the trials in class. a. Average momentum. b. Force generated by the car. c. Average kinetic energy. d. IMA of either the drive wheel and axle or the lever arm. Since this portion of the assignment will require gathering data in class, the written report will be due on Thursday, February 3.
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