1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Rubber-band powered toy airplanes

  1. Oct 30, 2004 #1


    User Avatar

    Any ideas on how to build a vehicle that travels 4m in 20 seconds at a constant velocity and can only be powered by a spring, elastic, or gravitational potential energy? I've heard of mouse-trap cars and stuff but other than that i'm stuck. I'd really appreciate any help i can get.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2004 #2
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  4. Oct 30, 2004 #3


    User Avatar

    thanx for the site...but i don't think that design will be able to travel the full 4 m. The problem i'm having is that i don't know how to make the vehicle travel a full 4 m at only 0.2 m/s.
  5. Oct 30, 2004 #4
    well, it will travel 4 meters if you build it correctly, as in VERY PERCISE!

    Also, you can try this:

    You build a basic car, with a
    body and a way to support the front wheels and the back wheels. Each set
    of wheels should be firmly attached to an axle, maybe a piece of dowel, so
    that when the axle turns, so do the wheels. Then you need some way to
    attach the end of a strong rubber band to the middle of each axle so that
    when you rotate the wheels, the rubber band winds around the axle and
    stretches tight. You can do this with a small nail or screw put carefully
    through the dowel. The best way to wind the wheels is probably to push down
    on the car while you push the car along a surface, like carpet. My
    two-year-old son has a toy car that winds up this way (but it uses a spring
    instead of a rubber band). Anyway, once the rubber band is really tight,
    you let the car go, and the stored energy in the rubber band unwinds the
    axle, and off goes the car. You don't have to have the band wind around
    both axles ... you could make it either just front-wheel drive or
    rear-wheel drive, but it probably goes better if you use both axles. You
    could also use two rubber bands, one for the front wheels and one for the
    back wheels, with the ends of each rubber band fixed to the middle of the
    car. Remember, the car will go fastest and the most distance if you use a
    really BIG strong rubber band, and can wind it up around the axles really
    really tight. But if you make it TOO tight or too strong, the car or the
    axles might break when you wind it up, which is not good and really annoying.

    Another way of making a car like this is to make it like the rubber-band
    powered toy airplanes. Make a light frame with 4 wheels, and buy a little
    toy propeller or take it off a toy airplane, then wind up the rubber band
    by winding the propeller. Then when you let go the propeller, it will drive
    the car along.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads for Rubber band powered Date
Rubber band lab Jan 10, 2018
Potential energy of rubber bands Apr 11, 2017
How stretching a rubber band, affects the range of a shot? Apr 8, 2017
Rubber Band Powered Mass Transporter Jan 14, 2004