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Question:
I am a junior in high school, and I have to make a vehicle for my physics class. The only catch is that it must be powered by one standard Victor mousetrap. Does anybody out there have any ideas?



Replies:
Well, a mousetrap works based on a very strong spring that pulls the trap closed after what is keeping it open has been bumped slightly. I assume you can use the spring force in a gradual manner, or you could just let the trap snap quickly to give the vehicle an initial burst of speed. Because you want your vehicle to move pretty far there is going to have to be some kind of gear arrangement to convert the motion of the mousetrap into motion of the vehicle. For example, you could loop a thin piece of string around a wheel axle with one end of the string firmly attached, and the other end could be attached to the end of the mousetrap that moves. Then when the mousetrap moves, the string is pulled and forces the wheels to turn. You can probably come up with much better arrangements, but that ought to work.

Arthur Smith



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