PHYSICS ANALYSIS OF MOUSETRAP CAR
The Physics Analysis section is divided into two parts:
These questions are designed to demonstrate your understanding
and application of the Physics principles learned in the Mechanics I
and II courses. Answer the questions in detail using full sentences.
Pay special attention to the words: describe, discuss and explain.
You must design, and conduct an experiment with your car that
illustrates a Physics principle covered in class. Suggested topics
of exploration are: Kinematics, Forces, Work, Energy, and/or
PART I. CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS 60%
1. What are the two types of friction that affect the performance of your
2. What problems related to friction did you encounter and how did you
3. How many wheels does your car have?
What factors did you take into account to decide the number of
4. What kind of wheels did you use in each axle?
What is the effect of using large or small wheels?
5. Explain how Newton's first, second and third laws apply to the
performance of a car.
6. Discuss the effect of the length of the lever arm in the pulling force of
7. How does the distribution of weight of the car affect the traction of the
8. Discuss how the length of the lever arm is related to the power output
of your car.
9. Discuss the major problems encountered in the performance of your
car and what did you do to solve them.
PART II. PRACTICAL ANALYSIS 40%
The objective is to design a lab to determine an unknown quantity experimentally. You may not damage any of the equipment you use,
and your method must be feasible and practical.
Your lab report must include the following:
- List the equipment you would need, and include a labeled diagram.
- Write a brief but concise procedure, describing any measurements you
would make, assigning each measurement a symbol (example: time = t ) .
- Show explicitly using equations how the measured quantities would be
used to determine the unknown quantity.
- Collect data.
- Analyze data including calculations and/or graphs as appropriate.
- Draw a conclusion.
- Indicate one possible source of experimental error.