# Catapulting though Time & Physics Essay

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Catapulting though Time & Physics

Hurling an object towards one’s enemy may seem as old as time itself. People have hurled fists at each other, thrown spears, and launched giant rocks into enemy territory. The use of catapults, and other objects that hurl projectiles, also seem as old as human civilization itself. The effectiveness of the catapult in flinging objects over a great distance and causing destruction is due to a few basic physics principals that govern force, energy, motion, speed and mass to name a few. The design of the catapult denotes a change in modern warfare to the engineer behind weapons being just as important as the actual soldiers and people who use them.

Projectile-throwing machines are found in three main
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We can look at the catapult as a lever which is meant to change direction and/or multiply the force that is applied to the projectile. A lever has three locations: the fulcrum, on which the lever arm rotates; the load, where the mass is located on the lever arm; and the effort, where the force, a push or pull, is applied (Vogel 178). It is meant to throw an object a certain horizontal distance in a certain, short time frame so that its impact would be greater than just a human hurling a giant rock at a building. We might intrinsically know this. “Probably no mechanical device is older than the lever; simple and versatile, it’s no doubt older than we humans,” mentions Steve Vogel in Cat’s Paws and Catapults (Vogel 178). If a larger kid jumps from a tree onto a seesaw with a smaller child will be launched into the air. The physics principals that govern the catapult also govern force, mass, speed and acceleration, rotational motion, and projectile motion. From these principals we find out what the optimum projectile mass, lever arm length, time, and launch angle which would produce optimum speed, impact, and horizontal distance traveled by the projectile.

“Speeding up or slowing down anything that has mass takes force,” according to Vogel and this means force must be applied to the projectile (Vogel 198). Force, merely a push or pull, is applied to the effort of the lever and is mass times acceleration, which we can