Picture Gallery: Speed-Trap Racers
Checkout these pictures of other great mousetrap cars that were designed for top speed. Look for design elements that you can use in the design of your own racer.
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Super Fast Mousetrap Cars
When it comes to building a good speed-trap racer the most important concept is gearing. Gearing controls the rate at which energy is used and how far a mousetrap powered vehicle will be pulled by the pulling force. Mousetrap cars designed for speed should use a large energy consumption per second or have a very large power output (in other words they should accelerate very fast). The power output of a mousetrap vehicle can be controlled by changing one and/or all of the following: the length of the mouse-trap's lever arm, the diameter of the drive wheel, and the diameter of the drive axle. The challenge with an project is to not over exaggerate the design concepts but find a harmonious balance between all elements.
Common Design Elements of a Speed-Trap Racer
- shorter length lever arm
- smaller diameter drive wheels
- wheels with good traction
- reduced friction bearings
- light weight components
A short lever arm has the same amount of torque as a longer lever arm but the difference between the two is the pulling force. Shorter lever arms have more pulling force than a longer arms. Shorter lever arms speed vehicles up and increase the power output. If a lever are is to short the drive wheels will spin out at the start and the vehicle will waste its energy.
Drive Wheel Diameter
Smaller diameter drive wheels cover less liner distance for each turn of string that is removed from the drive axle but have greater acceleration. Smaller diameter drive wheels speed a vehicle up and increase the power output. Keep in mind that smaller drive wheels produce more torque and without proper tire traction they will cause a vehicle to spin out at the start.
Dive Axle Diameter
The drive axle diameter is part of the drive wheel and axle gearing that controls the power output. Larger drive axles produce more torque and increase the power output. You get less turns of string around a larger drive axle but you produce more torque. Caution, if the drive axle it to large the vehicles drive wheels will spin out at the start.
The tire traction is the "grip" a vehicles wheels have on the floor. Traction is a very important concept when building a super fast mousetrap racer. The more traction a vehicles drive wheels have on the floor the great the acceleration that is possible. Look for ways to increase traction and you will be able to also increase acceleration.
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