Science Olympiad Mousetrap Vehicle Compound Levers

what is mousetrap vehicle

A mousetrap vehicle is model car that is powered by mousetraps. Many science and engineering competitions, such as Science Olympiad and SECME, host mousetrap vehicle competitions to help teach basic physic concepts to students. 

In this post, we will discuss compound levers and how to make them.

compound levers

What are compound levers

A compound lever is a type of  simple machine that use a series of levers, where one lever in the system applies a force the rest of the levers, causing the applied force to be transferred from one lever to the next. Put very simply, compound levers are a system of levers that amplify mechanical advantage, allowing you to increase the level of energy that is output from the system.

compound levers in mousetrap vehicle

If you have ever built a mousetrap vehicle, then you probably attached some form of a bar to your mousetrap to increase the amount of sting that pulls your vehicle’s axles. The bar and mousetrap are classified as a lever because they increase the mechanical advantage of the power form the mousetrap’s spring.

Compound levers, use multiple levers/arms to increase the amount of string pulled by the mousetrap. This is done by using the other arms to make an arc for the sting to be guided through, increasing the amount of string pulled from 2x the arm length to 3x the arm length.

how to make a compound lever

To make a compound lever for your science olympiad mousetrap vehicle you will need a at least 3 equally sized arms, a small enough nut to connect the arms, string, and some nuts to secure them together. After you attache the levers together on the both with the nuts, you should make the levers sit 60 degrees apart from each other by using the string. Watch our video below to get a better sense of what I am talking about.

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