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The physics of an Arrow


joshdeutsch

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I was watching the mid-season finale of the show Arrow and thought about how the physics of archery work. What I learned was a lot more interesting than just aerodynamics or projectile motion. I learned about the Archer's Paradox which is when an arrow is released to the left or right of the bow and is deliberately aimed off target, it will straighten out during release and hit the target.

Due to the high acceleration the arrow begins to oscillate (vibrate), which happens to be it's natural motion. This is caused by the friction of your fingers on the bow string which cause it move left at first or clockwise in it's oscillation. Then as the arrow is leaving the bow it turns counter-clockwise due to the angular acceleration. This leaves the arrows head tailing to the left while the veins (fletchings) are still facing towards the right. And due to that, the veins straighten out the arrow as it oscillates all the way to the target.

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