A mousetrap car is a small homemade car that is propelled by the force of the spring in a mousetrap. It is a common science and physics experiment that teaches the laws of mechanical advantage and the basic automotive mechanics of axles and wheels. Building a mousetrap car to go ten meters (33 feet) can be accomplished with the right knowledge of physics and mechanics. The mousetrap cars that go the farthest have the least weight, high traction on their wheels and the longest lever for the best possible mechanical advantage.
Pay attention to the weight of the body of your mousetrap car. Designing a light mousetrap car is necessary for the mousetrap car to go farther. The body can even be thinner than the mousetrap and can be made of foam or wood just as long as it is sturdy enough to not snap with the force of the mousetrap spring.
Find large wheels for the rear axle. Because the rear axle is what is driven by the mousetrap, a thin rod for the axle and large wheels will enable the mousetrap car to go farther. The larger the wheels, the better. Compact discs work well.
Use rubber or something with grip to place around the wheels for traction. A rubber band wrapped around the wheels works well. The more grip the wheel has to the ground, the farther it will go.
Increase the distance from the mousetrap to the rear wheels. Increasing the distance of the mousetrap to the rear wheel allows for a longer lever arm, which has a higher mechanical advantage. A long rod attached to the spring will also facilitate the mechanical advantage.
Things you need
- A mousetrap
- Wheels of different sizes
- A string
- Rubber bands or balloons
- Three rods