What is Mousetrap car: Definition and 28 Discussions

A mousetrap car is a small vehicle whose only source of motive power is a mousetrap. Variations include the use of multiple traps, or very big rat traps, for added power.
Mousetrap cars are often used in physics or other physical science classes to help students build problem-solving skills, develop spatial awareness, learn to budget time, and practice cooperative behavior.

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  1. unknown5174

    Building a mousetrap car for my engineering class -- Help please

    Summary:: My back wheel spins when in the air, but won't when on the ground, help! My car has two four inch wood wheels on the front and a 12 inch wood wheel on the back, they are securely attached to the axel and I have 1/2 inch ball bearings to connect the axel to the frame. My lever arm is...
  2. JackV

    What is the problem with the coefficient of friction in my mousetrap car design?

    Ffriction=0.94N u (coefficient of friction)=0.4 Fnormal=2.35N Mass of Cart= 0.24 kg Spring Potential Energy of the Mousetrap=0.2044 J Circumference of Wheels= 0.373 m Circumference of Axles= 0.0047625 m Drive Train Length= 0.254m Theoretical Distance based on Circumference of Wheels...
  3. S

    Mousetrap car won't roll on ground but will when being held

    I have made multiple mousetrap cars, and they've all have the same problem. They all have rolled when I held them however when I would put them on the ground they would not go. I think the problem may be a friction problem, however I'm not sure. I don't know what to do. Any advice/help would be...
  4. C

    Building a Mousetrap Car for High School Physics Class

    I am in a high school physics class and have been recently assigned a mouse trap. We were given a mouse trap, that is all, and sent out on our own to create one. The requirements for this specific mousetrap car are to go forward 3 meters, then backwards 2 meters, and finally forward three meters...
  5. robin14559

    Boy Scout Project: Build a Car 20m with Mousetraps & Beans

    Here is the task... Boy Scout project (Not Homework) - Build a car that can travel 20m in straight line - Design Constraints: - Carry (2) standard mousetraps and (2) 8 oz cans of pork and beans - Use 3 of the above 4 items as energy sources, with 1 as pure payload - Complete...
  6. Cheesycheese213

    How can we improve the performance of our mousetrap racecar?

    Homework Statement For school, we have to build a mousetrap car, and get it to go 3m. Our car doesn't roll very well, and we aren't quite sure of the problem. We have an axle that is 5mm wide, and the thing that holds it to the chassis is made of cardboard. Also, the mousetrap is pretty far...
  7. Cheesycheese213

    Mousetrap race car is not working

    Hello, so for school I'm building a mousetrap with my group for a project, but our car isn't moving. We filmed it snapping, and it doesn't seem like it is because of friction, since the axle spins pretty well. We thought that it was because the thing that holds the axle bends, but after fixing...
  8. L

    Automotive How can gears improve the performance of mousetrap cars?

    Hey, so I have a project for an intro engineering course in which we have to build a mousetrap car that both moves quickly and goes long distances. I've scoured the internet for info and I've come up with a few questions. First off, as I understand the physics of the mousetrap car, the...
  9. A

    Is a coefficient of friction of 7.7 on mousetrap car reasonable?

    Homework Statement We're told to find the coefficient of friction for a mousetrap car that we've made, using values that we attained ourselves. We released the arm of the mousetrap onto a scale to find Fa → 1.0*10^2 Newtons. This is how we found Fa: m = 1.020kg (←mousetrap held back and...
  10. X

    Why won't my mousetrap car move when the trap is set off?

    I have built a mousetrap car for physics however it will not start. It will only jump in place and then stops. A requirement for the project is that the car must be able to start with a marble is dropped on the trap meaning I am not able to remove ANYTHING from the trap. However when I set off...
  11. G

    Mousetrap car design and materials

    Hello, I am building a mousetrap car for my physics class. I have looked at other threads for the best materials and designs but none of them have helped me much. I was wondering if anyone could give me something new to work with. I would like to have a three wheel design but my main...
  12. T

    Why Won't My Mousetrap Car Move?

    Hey guys! I'm new to Physics Forum and I have a question. I am building a mousetrap car for my 8th grade science class and have run into a problem. I have built a pretty sophisticated pulley system using a cassette tape. The lever arm and string turn the cassette tape which turns the drive axle...
  13. Q

    Uncovering the Mechanism Behind a Mousetrap Car

    Hi all :) I have a physics project where we make a mousetrap car. Can someone explain to me what is the mechanism behind it and the advantages of using a mouse trap powered car? Thank you
  14. F

    Troubleshooting a Mousetrap Car: Improving Energy Transfer for Maximum Distance

    Okay, so I'm not really in High School (second year of college), but this is still a High School level problem. Anyway, I have a mousetrap car competition coming up in which we must get the car to move 15 feet and have the ability to calibrate it to move any distance under 15 feet as well. My...
  15. G

    Designing a Mousetrap Car for Optimal Distance: A Physics Project

    Hello and sorry about deviating from the provided format, I need to construct a mousetrap car for Physics class; it must transport a soda can an exact distance from the starting point. There may be no additional sources of energy other than the mousetrap and no kit cars may be used...
  16. I

    What materials should I use for my mousetrap car? (Already have precise design)

    I already have a specific design in mind. However, I'm not sure what to use as materials for some of the parts. Not allowed to use kits of any sort. Components that need material suggestions: Belt Pulley System -- Two pulleys, one smaller (1-2 inch diameter), and one larger (5-6 inch diameter)...
  17. F

    Top Materials for Building a High-Performing Mousetrap Car | Expert Tips

    Just a quick question about mousetrap cars... Does anyone have suggestions about possible materials for mousetrap cars? NOT designs, but recommendations for materials to use on certain parts of the car. Thanks in advance.
  18. C

    How do you get a mousetrap car to go forward and then backward?

    I have a physics project and my mousetrap car has to go forward seven meters and then back seven meters. I can only use two mousetraps.
  19. D

    I on building a mousetrap car.

    the instructions for building it is that we can't use anything for the car that would be used in its original purpose so like for wheels we couldn't use actual wheels. I want to make it pretty big but light at the same time and the goal is to have a car with fast acceleration and that can go...
  20. A

    Help with Mousetrap Car: Learn How to Build and Race!

    Help on Mousetrap Car ! Hello, good afternoon. I would ask you for the help of my work in physics. As you well understand, I'm not North American and my English is very bad. I am Brazilian and I ask the help of you using the Google translator. :blushing: Well, as I was talking to you, I have...
  21. T

    Sun energy transfer into a mousetrap car spring

    Homework Statement In six steps, explain how energy was transferred from the sun to your moving mousetrap car. Homework Equations None, I think. The Attempt at a Solution For the most part, I don't have the slightest idea. I do know how the energy transfers to the spring and powers...
  22. F

    Designing a Mousetrap Car with Weapons for Physics Project

    Homework Statement Imagine a mousetrap car with weapons, and that is my physics project for you. It is essentially a 8 foot long hill (8% grade on each side), with opponents' cars facing each other, racing up, and trying to go over the crest and force the oppenent's car backwards or off...
  23. K

    Maximize Mousetrap Car Performance for Physics Project

    I need to build a mousetrap car for a physics class and i was wondering if anyone could possibly give me any ideas on how to make the car travel faster and further. The requirements are that it needs to travel 25 ft for an A while carrying a full (closed) can of pop.Also, we can't use anything...
  24. I

    Troubleshooting Mousetrap Car Problem

    I am working on a mousetrap-powered car for my physics class and ran into a problem. I'm not sure if I am doing this right, but I ran the car from rest and it traveled 7.16 meteres in 4.63 seconds. Using the equation x= V initial(t) + (1/2)at^2, a determined that the car's acceleration is 0.668...
  25. D

    Optimizing Lever Arm Length and Material for Maximum Distance in a Mousetrap Car

    am doing mine for distance should i have a long lever arm or a short lever arm, and how long should it be? and should i use a like a rubber string or just a normal one and how long should that be? thanks if you can reply by today
  26. N

    Designing a Mousetrap Car: Kinetic & Potential Energy

    *******mousetrap Cars****** I NEED HELP I am building a mousetrap car, and I have to write a 5 page paper about it. Can someone please help me figure out what to include in the essay!?? I know I am supposed to talk about kinetic and potential energy, but what else? All i have right now is a...
  27. M

    Build a Mousetrap Car Using Only a Spring!

    Alright for my physics class we need to do a mousetrap car... A car that is only powered by the force given out by the spring on a victor mousetrap... You can't use rubber bands or anything like that... Does anyone have any ideas? The idea of having an arm attached to the spring and pulling...
  28. H

    Mousetrap car material suggestions

    I am currently doing a physics assessment. The aim of the assessment is to lift a 10g film barrister one meter high as slow as possible. The equipments provided are: 2m of string A standard mousetrap 1.5L PET Bottle + Lids Up to 3m of Bamboos Paper Clips (Use for adhesive, not for...