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Physics in building the catapult


AnnieB

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The catapult project was the epitome of physics. Not only did the catapult serve as an example of physics, but it required physics to build. Nailing together the wood supported Newton's 3rd Law. As I applied a force, hammering down the nail, the nail applied a force back up to the hammer. Even though it did not seem like it, the nail was applying an equal magnitude of force as the hammer was. The wood was also applying this same concept to the nail. As the nail was getting pushed into the wood, the wood was resisting. At one point, I came across a knot in the wood which then caused the nail to get pushed back up. The angle of my elbow also affected the way the nail went into the wood. When I bent my elbow at a 45 degree angle, I found I got more power and was able to pound the nail into the wood more efficiently without having to use too much force. This 45 degree angle can be found to be more helpful in the launching of the actual catapult as well. The softball could be found to go the farthest when launched at a 45 degree angle which is what would definitely be the goal if I were to create another catapult.

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