# Help with a grade 12 physics project — small recoil powered car

• CheatCod
In summary: I'm not sure if this is accurate or notIn summary, we have to create a car that is powered by gravitational or elastic potential energy and has a trigger mechanism. After 5 seconds of triggering the car, it must launch a projectile backwards to propel the car forward at least 6 meters. However, no electricity is allowed and the weight limit is 1kg. Some ideas that have been explored include using a mousetrap launcher or a spring cannon triggered by a music box. Calculations suggest that the projectile needs to reach a speed of 10m/s for the car to move effectively.
CheatCod
Summary:: We have to make a car which
-Has to have a trigger mechanism
-after 5s the car launches a projectile backwards to push the car forwards at least 6m
-NO ELECTRICITY ALLOWED, no motor, timer, etc
-weight limit of 1kg

Here it goes, we have to create a car powered solely by gravitational or elastic potential energy, so no electricity allowed. It must have a trigger mechanism, which can be anything you'd need to do to get the car going. Once you triggered the car, you aren't allow to touch it anymore, and after 5 second after triggering, the car shoots out a projectile backwards which propel the car forwards at least 6 meters. The car can only move from the projectile firing backwards, the projectile can be fired using either gravitational or elastic potential energy.

I've been scratching my head at this for some time now, anyone got any creative idea that's reasonable to implement?

Trebuchet or catapult would be 2 ways. Or a wind up device. Start with some calculations - how fast do you need to launch a projectile?

Your user name is CheatCod? And you want us to do your homework for you? Ok then.

I thought that was a little ironic as well...

DEvens said:
Your user name is CheatCod? And you want us to do your homework for you? Ok then.
Sorry for the misunderstanding, I came up with several ideas and experimented a bunch beforehand, none of them worked that well. I didn't post it because I thought it's not relevant. Will update post

CheatCod said:
Sorry for the misunderstanding
I can change your username for you if you like. Just let me know what you would like it changed to.

Thank you so much but that's fine haha, I like my username as it is

Well, okayyy.

:-)

CheatCod said:
Summary:: We have to make a car which
-Has to have a trigger mechanism
-after 5s the car launches a projectile backwards to push the car forwards at least 6m
-NO ELECTRICITY ALLOWED, no motor, timer, etc
-weight limit of 1kg

Here it goes, we have to create a car powered solely by gravitational or elastic potential energy, so no electricity allowed. It must have a trigger mechanism, which can be anything you'd need to do to get the car going. Once you triggered the car, you aren't allow to touch it anymore, and after 5 second after triggering, the car shoots out a projectile backwards which propel the car forwards at least 6 meters. The car can only move from the projectile firing backwards, the projectile can be fired using either gravitational or elastic potential energy.

I've been scratching my head at this for some time now, anyone got any creative idea that's reasonable to implement?
I can't seem to edit my og post but here are some of my ideas so far:
- a mousetrap launcher attached to a low-friction, customized car. For the timer, I'll use parts from a music box which would gradually tense up a string attached to the mouse trap's trigger mechanism
-a spring canon mounted to a car, but I've got no idea how to use a music box to trigger it.

I've experimented with a mousetrap launcher but it doesn't seem to be powerful enough to propel the car more than half a meter away.

scottdave said:
Trebuchet or catapult would be 2 ways. Or a wind up device. Start with some calculations - how fast do you need to launch a projectile?
I've done some very rough calculation. It seems like with a average car design I'd need the projectile to reach around 10m/s

## 1. How does a recoil powered car work?

A recoil powered car works by harnessing the principle of conservation of momentum. The car is powered by a small, compressed spring that is released when triggered, causing the car to move forward in the opposite direction of the recoil.

## 2. What materials are needed to build a recoil powered car?

To build a recoil powered car, you will need a small spring, a small car body, wheels, a trigger mechanism, and a solid surface to run the car on. You may also need additional materials such as glue, tape, and scissors for assembly.

## 3. How can the power and distance of a recoil powered car be increased?

The power and distance of a recoil powered car can be increased by using a stronger spring, reducing the weight of the car, or improving the design and efficiency of the trigger mechanism. It is also important to have a smooth and flat surface for the car to run on.

## 4. Can a recoil powered car be controlled or steered?

A recoil powered car can be controlled or steered by adjusting the angle of the wheels or using a steering mechanism. However, the control may be limited as the car moves based on the direction of the recoil.

## 5. What are some potential applications of a recoil powered car?

A recoil powered car can be used as a fun and educational toy, or as a demonstration of the principles of physics. It can also be used in science fairs or competitions. Additionally, the concept of recoil power can be applied to larger vehicles, such as rockets or guns.

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