what is gravity vehicle
A gravity vehicle is a car that is solely powered by the gravitational potential energy it has when it is placed on a ramp. Many science and engineering competitions, such as Science Olympiad, hold gravity vehicle as an event to learn physics concepts.
In this post, we will discuss how you can make the best possible launching mechanism.
designing a launching mechanism
While the launching mechanism may not be a determining factor for vehicle speed, it does, however, effect your consistency. When designing the launching mechanism on your ramp, you want to reduce the contact between the mechanism and the vehicle, which, in turn, will reduce the friction between them.
When you reduce the friction between the car and the release mechanism, any variability in the way you launch your vehicle will not greatly affect the car’s motion. Conversely, if there is more contact and friction, then slight changes will greatly affect your car’s consistency.
Now, if you are planning on competing in gravity vehicle, then you probably already know that you have to launch your car using an unsharpened and unused number 2 pencil. looking at this rule, you may have already considered using the pencil its self to directly release the car, or physically touching or interacting with the car to launch it.
Although this method is very simple, it greatly hinders the amount of consistency you are able to achieve because of the concept we discussed above, friction.
Instead, the pencil should be used indirectly to launch the car. For example you may want to have a lever that you can press with the pencil to release the car.
Watch our video below to learn more about this topic.