The car has inertia it will follow Newton’s first

The two types of friction that
affect the performance of my mousetrap car are rolling friction and static
friction.

A problem that I ran into related to
friction was that the CDs I used for wheels didn’t have enough traction and
they made too much friction with the floor. To solve this problem I cut up four
balloons and taped them to my tires so they would have more traction. Another
problem related to friction was getting my mousetrap car to even start moving.
I had to figure out how to overcome the static friction acting on my car. To
solve this problem, I had to rebuild my car. I lengthened the body added a
longer lever arm and more string. This added more force and torque to my car.

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I chose four wheels for my car
because I was afraid it would be off-centered and unbalanced if I only used
three. Plus, I wanted to attach a string on the lever arm in the middle of the
two front wheels (on the axle). If I used three wheels (two in the back, one in
the front) the string would have to be attached to one side of the front wheel,
not in the middle.

I used CDs with balloons wrapped
around the outside of them on each axle. Larger wheels can travel farther
distances each time they turn. Although, larger wheels take more power and
torque to keep them turning. Smaller wheels will accelerate quicker than larger
wheels but they won’t travel as far each time they turn.

Newton’s first law applies to the
performance of my vehicle because since my mousetrap car has inertia it will
follow Newton’s first law. The car will tend to stay at rest when at rest or in
motion when in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force (rolling/static
friction). We need to try to use the cars inertia to get it to stay in motion
longer so it will go a greater distance. The car won’t move until the string
attached to the axle (outside force) spins the front axel and propels it
forward.

Newton’s
second law applies to the performance of my vehicle because in order to get the
greatest acceleration for my car I needed to make sure that my lever arm and
string hooked to the mousetrap and axel created a lot of force to get my car
going. I also needed to make sure that the vehicle didn’t have too much mass so
I could obtain the greatest acceleration possible with my car.

Newton’s
third law states that every action has an equal but opposite reaction. This
affects the performance of my car because when the wheels on my car push
backwards against the floor, it propels the mousetrap car forward. Meanwhile
friction acts in the opposite direction. Newton’s third law elucidates how the
force of the lever arm makes the car move.

When
you change the length of the lever arm you change the cars acceleration and
travel distance. I wanted my mousetrap car to go the whole five meters so I
used a longer lever arm so I could use more string to pull away from the front
axle. This way, energy will be conserved and my vehicle will go farther. One of
the downsides of this was that using a longer lever arm decreases the pulling
force of my car. Since I use the longer lever arm, my car goes quite a distance
but it doesn’t have the greatest speed. At first I used a shorter lever arm but
when I would try to start my car the wheels would just spin-out and my car
wouldn’t move. So, I cut a longer lever arm to decrease the pulling force and
so I could use a longer pulling string. Using a longer lever arm increases the
distance your car goes and decreases the speed and pulling force. Using a
shorter lever arm increases the speed and pulling force but your car may not go
as far.

The
distribution of weight of the vehicle must be equal so all of the wheels have
the same traction. An equal distribution of weight lets both axles have the
same amount of traction. If some wheels had more weight on them than others
then they could resist motion and not turn, causing the car to barely or not at
all, move. You need to make sure that none of the wheels are wobbly and that
they all stay on the ground. To do this, weight has to be evenly distributed
across all four tires. Your wheels can also slip if they do not have enough
traction and weight pushing them to the ground.

One
problem that I encountered in the performance of my vehicle was at my wheels
are crooked and so my car wouldn’t go in a straight line. I solved this problem
by re-gluing the wheels on the axle with a piece of cardboard on the back of
them to keep them level and straight. Another problem that I encountered was
the string that I was using kept getting caught on the axle and would stop
unwinding. This would stop my car completely and would keep it from
accelerating to its full potential. To fix this problem I exchanged my
yarn-like string for fishing line. Fishing line is very thin, yet strong, so it
doesn’t break or get caught when unwinding.