Mousetrap car project Essay Example

Your team identification name

Your Workshop day

The FunTime Toy Company

Unit 313, 3/F., New East Ocean Centre

Museum Road, Tsimshatsui East

Hong Kong

Dear FunTime Toy Company

It was a pleasure been selected among the few for the product development process. As presented by your representative, the requirements and controlled measures used for the mousetrap development were effectively considered throughout the report. For the car to be considered as a racing toy, and being selected by the company, it had to meet some designs and performance levels you requested, which were met. We managed to propel the vehicle for the distance selected within 4.7seconds. We hope you find the project appealing, as it was to us.

Yours Sincerely

Griffith School of Engineering

Griffith University

1006ENG – Design and Professional Skills

Semester 2, 2016


Workshop Day:

Workshop Time:

mousetrap car project

1.0 Introduction

The FunTime Toy Company in Sydney contacted my organization among other competing organizations to develop a mousetrap car that can be used as a racing toy by children who are aged above 8 years. Thus, the objective of the project was to develop a mousetrap car-racing toy with the designs and performance levels demanded by the FunTime Toy Company for it to be selected. The report provides an analysis of the steps and experiments conducted prior to attaining the perfect mousetrap car that meets the needs of the company and their requirements as will be demonstrated. The report includes a discussion overview that describes the details of the design project. The report begins with a letter to the FunTime Toy Company describing briefly the design used in the project and the outcome attained. It provides a conclusion demonstrating the significance and implication of the design of the project.

2.0 Discussion of Experiment

The project was focused on the development and designing of a mousetrap car to be used for racing by children above the age 8. The mousetrap car had to be powered by the trap and needed to race for about 5 metres straight. The design of the car had to ensure the maximum acceleration since it has to race for the five metres at the shortest possible time. In the demands of the FunTime Toy company, they controlled a number of variables as depicted.

1Controlled Variables

The mousetrap car had to be of high performance, mainly regarding to the speed of the car since it was going to be marketed as a toy-racing car. The car had to be powered by a standard mousetrap without applying any other propulsions to power the car. It had to race for about 5m in the shortest time possible to pass the performance. The car had to start when in a standing position. The mousetrap car could not be altered physically, but four small holes could be drilled to mount the mousetrap to the frame. All competing organizations had two-three sessions for trying to design and develop the mousetrap car.

Your description should focus on the details of the issue and, where appropriate describe these details within the context of the design project undertaken.

2First Experiment Trial

The experiment included cutting down weight from some of the materials collected, the first design of the car was heavier, which led to poor distance level. According to the second law of newton, weight had to be reduced, to increase the speed. The materials used in the development of the mousetrap car include a wood, which was used for the base of the car. Other materials included the chassis, axels, wheels screws, grom, and washers. A position for the bait was also included where the bar was attached to the coiled spring for increasing tension.

The FunTime company wants a car that uses the mousetrap to launch, and in not altering the physical appearance of the car, tension could not be increased. In developing and designing the mousetrap, several mechanic principles were considered by the organization, the principles include the process of conserving energy, the law of Newton, inertia, friction and torque among others. However, due to the limitations the FunTime Company has placed, the designing of the mousetrap considered the laws of motion by Newton.

The first law of motion presents that unbalanced force is the only force that makes a resting object move. To ensure the mousetrap car moved in the same direction, equal force has to be applied to the object (Twigg, 1995). This, will guarantee it travels in the same direction (straight direction of 5m as the FunTime company demands) using the same speed. However, to accelerate the speed and ensure it races for the five metres in a short time period, the second law of motion is applied.

3Second Experiment Trail

The second trial is the part we attached the ruler for the rope to last longer and at least reach the speed needed. However, the speed of the mousetrap was poor. Through the second trial, we made some changes to mousetrap, the first one increased power by about 7.3seconds, the second hole in the middle increased power by 10.5 seconds while the third hole increased power to about 12.4 seconds. Thus, the weight of the mousetrap car was lighter, and with the longer rope, expected positive results. However, the mousetrap was still slow.

The second law states that to ensure acceleration, force has to act on the mass (Giancoli, 2005). Thus, with more mass, the more force demanded for the object to move. Thus, to guarantee increased and high performance in terms of speed, the mousetrap has to be lighter. Thus, using light materials as used in the experiment (Boothroyd, 2010). More importantly, the holes drilled and increasing the rope length increased tension allowing for acceleration.

4Third Experiment Trial

The third experiment was successful, where the mousetrap arm was placed near the backward axel, allowing the car to travel for 5metres for 5.50 seconds. Since the time was still higher than the expected time, we reduced the weight of the chassis leading to the mousetrap travelling the distance at a speed of 4.7 seconds. Thus, the final trial of the experiment was successful.

The physical appearance of the mousetrap cannot be altered, and was not altered in the experiment. In the process of ensuring the lightness of the materials to increase lightness that would increase tension and speed consequently, we reduced the mass of the chassis and from experiment one, other areas that have high mass were targeted for increasing speed.. Consequently, with the lightness of the materials increased tension leading to the third law (Antony, 2014). The third law stipulates that there is an equivalent response and opposite response for all actions. The increase in tension has an equal reaction by thrusting the mousetrap forward fast leading to the speed of 4.7seconds for the 5metress.

3.0 Results

In my experiment, the force was measured in g/cm from the axis at 10 – 180 degrees. The length of the mousetrap arm length was 40. The measurements assisted in calculating the force leading to the results below. In the experiment, the following units were considered and used

1gram =0.0098 newton’s

Radians = (degrees * Π) / 180

1cm = 0.1 metres

The weight of the mousetrap at a mass of 30.35g was 297.43N. The measurements and weight of the materials used are provided in the table below.

Mouse trap arm length

Experiment 1 results

Experiment 2 results


mouse trap

Base of mousetrap


rolling angle

Weight (Drive)

weight (front)


coefficient of friction

Experiment 3results

The results show that the first two experiments did not meet the need of the company. However, in the third experiment the displacement was high, showing it achieved the objective of the project and the need of the FunTime Company.

4.0 Conclusion

The three laws of motion by Newton are of high importance in determining the speed of a car or a mousetrap as presented in the project. The significance of the project is demonstrated in that it informs one on the necessity of constructing good vehicles. That is; the vehicles that can work better must be in accordance with several laws of physics. Changing the length of the lever arm led to a successful increase in speed for the vehicle. Testing of the car was limited, but I learned the importance of planning ahead of time. Through planning the design of the vehicle, I eliminated various ways of going back to re-adjust various parts of the mousetrap.


New York: Elsevier.Design of experiments for engineers and scientists.Antony, J. (2014).

USA: Lerner Classrom.Why Do Moving Objects Slow Down?: A Look at Friction (Lightning Bolt Books: Exploring Physical Science (Paperback)).Boothroyd, J. (2010).

New York: Pearson Education.Physics: principles with applications.Giancoli, D. C. (2005).

New York: Butterwoth-Heinemann.Science for Motor Vehicle Engineers.Twigg, P. (1995).