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Paper Plane Distance

  1. Jan 24, 2016 #1

    I'm doing an experiment to get my silver CREST award, in which I've created a mechanical paper plane thrower. I have thrown various types of plane, but all with the same design. The thrower uses a 9V battery, but is more like 6 now. The thrower has two motors, each which take 70mA. The thrower throws consistently with a percentage difference of each throw being <3%, and each plane spends around 0.3s on the launcher before leaving its grasp.

    My results are as follows:
    A4 75gsm plane weighing 4.7g travels 4.37m
    A4 60gsm plane weighing 3.8g travels 3.33m
    A5 75gsm plane weighing 2.4g travels 3.80m
    A5 60gsm plane weighing 1.9g travels 2.20m

    I am trying to find the number of joules each plane takes to get x meters, by finding the j/kg. The j/kg should give me m^2/s^2 which would enable me to work out the power required to throw a 1ton aluminium plane for 1km.
    However, no matter how hard i try, i cannot get the equation to work for more than 1 value at a time.

    Can anyone come up with an appropriate equation to work out power or energy from distance, weight and other measurable variables?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 24, 2016 #2


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    What is the gsm parameter? grams per square metre of the paper?
  4. Jan 24, 2016 #3
    Yes. i have put the weight next to it anyway just for reference.
  5. Jan 24, 2016 #4


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    Well, you should have two formulae, one for each weight.
    OK, hm. You want two parameters, weight and gsm.
  6. Jan 24, 2016 #5
    Should i?
    I want to be able to vary the weight to find the power. Surely i would have to fit it in the same equation?
  7. Jan 25, 2016 #6

    David Lewis

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    To get power, you might divide work (the distance the launcher arm moves multiplied by the integral with respect to time of force as a function of time) by 0.3 s.

    The distance a glider flies (for a given amount of work) varies depending, in part, on its aerodynamics.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
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