# Fall 2020 College Physics I Lab Project: Virtual Trebuchet 1. How to build and o

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Fall 2020 College Physics I Lab Project: Virtual Trebuchet

1. How to build and optimize your trebuchet: Go to the website www.benchtophybrid.com/TB_index.html.

Choose the style of trebuchet you would like to build (avoiding the Fixed Arm 1DOF trebuchet, which does not

appear to work) and adjust the parameters to maximize the average of “Range Efficiency” and “Energy

Efficiency,” keeping a meticulous written record of how you changed the parameters and how each of these

changes affected your result. This average is the only criterion that I will use to judge your trebuchet’s

performance. Feel free to experiment with different styles before settling upon your final choice.

2. Presentation (6 pts, 10%): Your virtual trebuchet will be graded, based on the average of its range and energy

efficiencies. You will submit with your report a screen shot of your final trebuchet and the trajectory of the

projectile.

3. Project report (48 pts, 80%–MUCH MORE IMPORTANT!!!): Your report must be a detailed description of the

physics involved in launching the projectile using your final trebuchet. Reports must include, but are not limited

to, the following sections (You can name them something else if you want.):

a. Introduction to the problem: State what you are trying to accomplish and explain any relevant physics.

Answer the following questions:

▪ Assuming no air resistance, what is the simplest equation that describes the horizontal component

of the velocity of the projectile in flight and why? (If it changes, express it as a function of Δt.)

▪ Assuming no air resistance, what is the simplest equation that describes the horizontal position of

the projectile in flight? (If it changes, express it as a function of Δt.) This is not about the final

horizontal position (range), but about horizontal position in general during the entire flight.

▪ Assuming no air resistance, what is the simplest equation that describes the vertical component of

the velocity of the projectile in flight, and why? (If it changes, express it as a function of Δt.)

▪ Assuming no air resistance, what is the simplest equation that describes the height of the projectile

in flight? (If it changes, express it as a function of Δt.) This is not about maximum height, but about

height in general during the entire flight.

▪ Assuming that the height difference between the launch and landing of the projectile can be

neglected, what launching angle should theoretically yield the longest horizontal range? Explain

separately in detail why angles smaller than this or larger than this produce shorter horizontal

ranges.

Answering the above questions is only the MINIMUM explanation required to get a C.

b. Solution to the problem: State the idea for your design. Give a detailed account of the entire history of

how you adjusted the style and parameters of your trebuchet, explaining in terms of physical concepts

such as force, torque, mass, angular/linear acceleration, and angular/linear velocity, how each of the

changes you made increased the range efficiency and energy efficiency.

c. References: You must list any references you used, including your textbook or any websites you visited.

4. Format of the report: The report MUST BE TYPED. Sentences must be clear, concise, and well-formed. All

analysis must be IN DEPTH and DETAILED. The MINIMUM length is 4 pages typed, SINGLE-spaced, not

including your screenshot or any data tables, diagrams, illustrations, reference lists, or quotations from other

sources. In other words, assuming your paper provides all information requested above, A FOUR-PAGE PAPER

WILL EARN THE C GRADE. Each page below/above this limit will decrease/increase the score of your paper by 8

of the total 48 points. Margins (top, bottom, left or right) must be no larger than 1.00 inches. Font must be 14-

point Calibri. Text must be regular, not bold or italicized. You must send the report to me via email. Do not

forget to attach the screenshot of your final trebuchet and the projectile trajectory to the same email.

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