1.2 - Engineering Goals and Brainstorming

Engineering Goals and Brainstorming

Problem Statement
  • To design a mousetrap car which is light but at the some time can travel a distance being powered by tension and elastic potential energy being converted into kinetic energy. 
Rules and Regulations
  • The standard issue mousetrap must be mounted onto the vehicle chassis.
  • The spring on the mousetrap may not be cut, bent, over-wound, heat-treated or altered in any manner.
  • No additional source of elastic potential energy should be incorporated into the engine/drivetrain mechanism.
  • Additional input of energy of any form to the vehicle in forbidden.
  • We may supply their own materials and are encouraged to use recycled, re-purposed materials; kits are prohibited.
  • Distance travelled will be measured in a straight line, with reference to the front axle of vehicle from the start point to the point where the front axle stops or leaves the designated testing area.
  • Vehicles must have either 3/4 wheels.
  • Gearing/Use of lubricants.bushings and bearings are permitted.
  • The final assessment will consist of a maximum of 3 trials run out of which the run with the best score will be recorded; the vehicle cannot be modified further once it has started on the first trial run and all 3 runs must be conducted within the same day. Exception: Minor adjustments that are approved by the teacher may be allowed on a case-by-case basis; all adjustments approved and carried out must be documented by the respective teams.
  • All physicals dimensions should adhere to the following limitations:
    • Length: 30 cm
    • Width: 15cm
    • Height: 15cm
  • Mousetrap car should not be pushed/pulled by the student when being tested.
Design Criterions:
  • Keeping Newton's Second Law in mind, we need to keep our mousetrap light so that the acceleration is greater. When the acceleration is greater, the car will travel a further distance. 

The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma
  • The shape of the car should also be aerodynamic as it reduces air resistance and prevents undesired lift forces.
  • The chassis should be sturdy and strong, not flimsy, as it has to take the force of the mousetrap's spring and the tension released by the string.
  • The lever arm and spring should be long, but not too long, so as to maximise the distance it can go till.
  • The axels should also be sturdy and well placed, so that firstly, the wheels can work and secondly, the force should be taken by the wheels.
  • The axel should also be perpendicular to the wheels, so that the wheels are not slanted, which will provide the structure to be more stable.
3 Unique Car Designs

1st Idea:


2nd Idea:


3 Idea:


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