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What variables need to be considered in slingshots?

  1. Jul 2, 2015 #1
    Say I have a basic slingshot (like an elastic band attached to a 'Y' shaped stick), what variables do I need to consider when calculating its ability to launch an object into the air?

    So for example, say I load a mass, m, into a slingshot, pull the elastic band back x metres, and then release it, and the object flies off at an initial velocity of 'u' m/s. How can I determine if the slingshot can launch an object of a larger mass?

    Do I need to know:
    The mass of the initial object?
    The 'spring constant' of the sling shot? (and if so, how do I find it?)
    The projectile range of the initial object?

    Is there more that I need to consider here?

    (My little brother asked me if his homemade giant-slingshot could launch a human. I said that it probably wouldn't, but I'd like to work it out purely out of curiosity haha)

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2015 #2


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    Science Advisor

    You have a little brother, a giant-slingshot ... physics is an experimental science. But seriously, use a sand bag with the mass of a human.
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