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Industrial catapults



We recently built catapults as a project assigned by our physics teacher. Our goal for this project was to maximize the distance of the projectile, which in this case was a softball. We either had the choice of building a catapult or a trebuche but we decided to build a catapult. Using our knowledge of two dimensional motion, we set out to build a catapult that would launch the projectile at the optimal angle with the most applied force. We placed a wooden beam on our catapult at the spot that would cause our arm to release the catapult at 45 degrees, the optimal launch angle. We used garage springs to provide the force to the arm to accelerate the arm until it reached its launch point. We pulled the spring back to the base of the catapult, stretching it a good amount to provide a good source of tension in the spring. That force pulled the arm of our catapult up, launching our projectile at the optimal angle (45 degrees) so it could attain its maximum height and distance. Our catapult launched the softball a maximum distance of 35 yards which was a very solid result to a project that tested our knowledge on a very important physics concept. We were proud of ourselves.

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After watching other cataplats that Friday, I realized that if we had used springs like your group, we could have launch much further. For one thing bungees generally have a maximum amount you can stretch them unlike spring which you can usually keep stretching.

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