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Physics Of The Catapult

Decent Essays
Busch R. Jonathan Period 4
23 February 2017 Busch 1
The Origins And Physics Of The Catapult When we think of catapults we usually imagine them firing at castle walls during the medieval times, or standing in the background of a large army clashing with another in an action movie. However, catapults have a long and intricate history that twists and binds with our own, dating all the way back to 399 B.C. First documented by the Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, in the form of an early design for the Ballista (type of catapult). Catapults were a staple for siege warfare all throughout history. The catapult was used by many different cultures, notably the Greeks, Roman, and Chinese in siege warfare; also
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Catapults vary much in size and design. Often times, the procedure in siege battles was to build a catapult for the right situation; the strength of the catapult depended on its’ size and ammunition and how useful it was in the right situation. According to the Google Sites page “Physics of Catapults 101”, “Catapults were known for throwing a multitude of objects at the enemy. These include but were not limited to: stones, sharp wood poles, darts, pots of Greek Fire, quicklime, burning tar, burning sand, dung, dead animals, body parts, and diseased bodies.” (First form of biological warfare utilized the Trebuchet.) Differing catapults fired better suited…show more content…
The physics concepts associated with them are projectile motion, energy, momentum, forces , speeds, and distances. The kinds of catapults all use the same theme of accumulated tension, but acquire that tension in their own way, their own design. The Mangonel catapult for instance, is what most of us think of as the traditional catapult. A large wooden device with four wheels and a spoon that launches fireballs. The Mangonel stores energy much like a spring would, therefore, we use the equation PEspring = 1/2kx^2. The tension in the ropes and arms of the catapult when pulling on its long arm stores potential energy which is transformed into kinetic energy when fired upon. (Melvin, Mangonel - “Physics of Catapults”) The speed and distance of the projectile depended on how much force the catapult applied to the projectile, and the momentum depended on the mass and the velocity of the projectile (dead diseased cow, or flaming
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