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Automotive Mousetrap cars and gears

  1. Sep 23, 2015 #1
    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 potential energy of the spring is transferred into kinetic energy by the lever arm. And having a longer level arm can increase your torque and maximum distance. Whereas a shorter arm will rapidly increase speed.

    My first question

    I've been looking into gears and how the can help multiply either speed or force, depending on which size combinations and order you decide to use. So if I were to somehow attach gears to the rear axle of the car, and attach the lever arm to these gears, would I have a greater output of speed and or power than if I attached the lever arm to the axle alone?

    Second Question

    By using gears as well, if I were to apply power to the front axle at the same time I apply power to the rear, thus creating an all-wheel drive vehicle, would I see speed and or power increases for the vehicle?

    I understand that energy cannot be created or destroyed, so that in reality the entire purpose of this project is to utilize the potential energy of the original spring most efficiently. And from what I can tell utilizing a long lever arm and gears seems to be the best way to do so.

    Any help on this topic would be greatly appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2015 #2
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