Gravitational potential energy challenge

In summary, the challenge is to transport a 305 gram can of tomato soup a distance of 4 meters without using any chemical, elastic, spring, electrical, or magnetic energy. The only allowed energy source is the gravitational potential energy of the can. The can must start no higher than 20 cm above the device and cannot go lower or into the device once it falls. The device has a maximum size of 30cm x 30cm x 30cm and must not lose any parts during the process. The course is 1 meter wide and the device must travel in a straight line, with the distance measured from the starting point to where it first goes off course. One idea is to use a ramp for the can to roll
  • #1
p4physics
3
0
ok I am in high school and have a physics challenge, its a device that transports a mass of 305 grams (Tomato soup can), a distance of 4 meters. no chemical, elastic, spring, electrical or magnetic energy can be used - the only energy source for propelling the device will come from the gravitational potential energy of the soup can. the soup can can be located no higher than 20 cm above the device itself and it will fall down on the device and we are to come up with some form of mechanism to propel the device once the can falls on it. other restrictions are -
1. device has max dimensions of 30cm X 30cm X 30cm
2. nothing falls off the device. if a part detaches and falls on the ground the distance traveled will be measured from starting point to the part.
3. once the device starts to move, it will be self guided and must travel in a straight line. the course is 1 meter wide and if it goes off course, the distance traveled will be from the starting point to where it first went off course.
4. once the can falls, it must not go lower or into the device. so basically it falls and lands on top of device but doesn't go through it to the ground.
so... if you have any ideas, please post them. thank you!
 
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  • #2
Make a ramp and let the can roll down the ramp and hope it goes as far as you need it too :D
 
  • #3
if i didnt need ideas for this project this urgently, i would have found riogho's comment funny :(
 
  • #4
Why, does it not work? I can't think of any other way, maybe it is as a trick question and you are just making it harder then it needs to be :D
 
  • #5
I don't get the "falls down onto" part. That is too uncontrolled. Can you instead have a platform as part of your shuttle cart that the can sits on, which starts 20cm high, and moves smoothly down the 20cm as that potential energy is changed into KE for the cart moving forward?

If so, use a string wrapped around one of the axles to translate the downward can motion into rotational torque, and leave the end of the string loose, so it let's go of the axle when the can makes it to the bottom of its travel... from then on it's up to the friction in your wheels and axles as to weather you make the 4m distance goal.
 
  • #6
Riogho said:
Why, does it not work? I can't think of any other way, maybe it is as a trick question and you are just making it harder then it needs to be :D

From my read of the OP, he needs to have the can "fall" onto a platform thing, and that platform thing has to carry the can the 4m distance.
 

Related to Gravitational potential energy challenge

What is gravitational potential energy?

Gravitational potential energy is the energy an object possesses due to its position in a gravitational field. It represents the potential for an object to do work as it moves towards a lower gravitational potential.

How is gravitational potential energy calculated?

The formula for calculating gravitational potential energy is PE = mgh, where PE is the potential energy, m is the mass of the object, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and h is the height or distance from the reference point.

What is the relationship between gravitational potential energy and mass?

The gravitational potential energy of an object is directly proportional to its mass. This means that as the mass of an object increases, its gravitational potential energy also increases.

How does height affect gravitational potential energy?

The height or distance from the reference point is a crucial factor in determining the amount of gravitational potential energy an object possesses. As the height increases, the gravitational potential energy also increases.

What is the significance of the gravitational potential energy challenge?

The gravitational potential energy challenge is a thought experiment that highlights the importance of understanding the concept of gravitational potential energy. It also emphasizes the relationship between potential energy and the position of an object in a gravitational field.

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