What is gravity vehicle
A gravity vehicle is model car that is powered solely by gravitational potential energy. Many science and engineering competitions, such as Science Olympiad, host gravity vehicle competitions to help teach basic physic concepts to students.
To learn more about gravity vehicles, see our other post:
how to improve your vehicle
1. add more weight to your vehicle
Contrary to other vehicle-based events, you should maximize the weight of your gravity vehicle. This is based on the equation:
Gravitational Potential Energy = Gravity * Height * Mass
Because gravitational energy is what propels the device forward it is extremely important to maximize the vehicle’s weight, which, in turn, will increase your gravitational potential energy.
However, while you should be adding weight to your vehicle, the placement of that weight is crucial to seeing improved results. To correctly add weight to your vehicle, it is best to place the weight as close to the back axle as possible without significantly hindering the balance of your vehicle.
2. use wider wheels
I you are using thin CD wheels to make your car roll, then you are probably seeing your car veer left and right, avoiding the intended target point. This phenomenon is largely because your wheels are too thin and, therefore, have low stability.
If you invest into thicker wheels, then the issue of veering off course will largely be handled. If your car is still heavily veering, then make sure that the wheels sit perfectly perpendicular to the axles.
3. Oil your axles
Friction is an important factor to minimize in any vehicle-based competition, especially in gravity vehicle where there is only a limited supply of gravitational potential energy available to power the vehicle. If your vehicle is traveling too slow or not far enough despite the use of ball bearing or spacers, then there is probably too much friction between the axle and the bearing/spacer.
A quick fix to resolve this issue is to simply take some lubricant or oil and apply it at the point where the axles contact the bearing/spacer. Then simply rotate the axles to spread the oil/lubricant throughout the entire contact point between the axle and bearing/spacer.