How to calculate the trajectory of a mortar round.

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In summary, the author was asking for help with trying to compute an unknown angle when firing a mortar round, and suggests that using a computer might be the best solution.
  • #1
mcvwi623
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Hi, I didn't post this question in the Homework section as it is not home work and does not seem to fit with the template.

I was wondering if someone could help me out with trying to calculate certain unknowns when computing the trajectory of a mortar round.

I think the solution to the problem involves some sort of re-arrangement of the kinematic equations required to solve trajectory problems where you are provided with an initial velocity and an angle.

I figure that when trying to hit a target with a mortar. You already know the distance the projectile is required to travel and you also know the force applied to the projectile to cause it to travel. I need to compute the angle that is required in order to make the round land in the right place.

I have attempted to work backwards from examples which provide you with an angle and a force and require you to compute the landing point and max height etc, but I have found that I can not find the Time variable required??

Can someone help me out, maybe I am not using the correct equation for this.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
 
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  • #2
Quick question before you can go any further: Are you taking air resistance into account or not?

If not, it is a relatively simple problem. If so, it gets a bit stickier.
 
  • #3
If I recall me readings correctly, this problem was one of the first solved with electronic computers.

I believe they took into account:
- Distance.
- Elevation change.
- Air density, in account of air resistance.
- Side wind speed.

Frankly, this shouldn't be too difficult using either MS Excel or Mathcad.
 
  • #4
skeleton said:
If I recall me readings correctly, this problem was one of the first solved with electronic computers.

I believe they took into account:
- Distance.
- Elevation change.
- Air density, in account of air resistance.
- Side wind speed.

Frankly, this shouldn't be too difficult using either MS Excel or Mathcad.

How about Coriolis effect,
air density as a function of humidity, temperature, and altitude,
g as a function of altitude,
the phase of the moon...
 
  • #5
skeleton said:
If I recall my readings correctly, this problem was one of the first solved with electronic computers.

I believe they took into account:
- Distance.
- Elevation change.
- Air density, in account of air resistance.
- Side wind speed.
The computers were used to fill in tables of data where actual motars were fired and the shell impact positions were measured over a range of conditions to generate the coefficients for the differential equations that the computer would then numerically integrate. Previously, analog computers were used to do this. ENIAC wasn't completed until after WW2 had ended so it missed it's original goal.

ENIAC was designed and built to calculate artillery firing tables:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC

a skilled person with a desk calculator could compute a 60- second trajectory in about 20 hours. The analog differential analyzer produced the same result in 15 minutes. ENIAC required 30 seconds--just half the time of the projectile's flight.:
http://ftp.arl.mil/~mike/comphist/eniac-story.html

Differential analyser:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_analyser
 
Last edited:
  • #6
Hi guys, thanks for all your replies. I am a computer science major, so I know all about ENIAC :).

No I don't need to take into account the wind resistance or any other variables. I am writing a First Person Shooter video game so all those variables can be neglected

It turns out the following wikipedia page has the answers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trajectory_of_a_projectile

This is the formula that I needed. Looking at it I can kind of see how it was derived.

theta = 1/2 arcsin ( gd / v^2 )

Thanks for your help anyway.
 

1. How do I calculate the trajectory of a mortar round?

To calculate the trajectory of a mortar round, you will need to know the initial velocity, launch angle, and air resistance of the projectile. These values can be determined experimentally or provided by the manufacturer.

2. What is the formula for calculating the trajectory of a mortar round?

The formula for calculating the trajectory of a mortar round is the same as the formula for calculating the trajectory of any projectile, which is:

Range = (initial velocity)^2 * sin(2*launch angle) / gravitational constant

3. How does air resistance affect the trajectory of a mortar round?

Air resistance, also known as drag, can significantly affect the trajectory of a mortar round. As the projectile travels through the air, it experiences a force in the opposite direction of its velocity. This force can cause the projectile to slow down and deviate from its intended trajectory.

4. What is the importance of calculating the trajectory of a mortar round?

Calculating the trajectory of a mortar round is crucial for ensuring accuracy and effectiveness in military operations. It allows for precise targeting and can also help determine the ideal launch angle and initial velocity for different scenarios.

5. Is there any software or tools available for calculating the trajectory of a mortar round?

Yes, there are various software and tools available for calculating the trajectory of a mortar round. These include computer programs, smartphone apps, and online calculators. However, it is important to note that these tools may not be as accurate as manually calculating the trajectory using the formula.

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