Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

European Journal of Physics

Volume

35

Issue

3

Publisher

IOP Publishing

Publication Date

3-14-2014

DOI

10.1088/0143-0807/35/3/035009

Abstract

A simple, collapsible design for a large water balloon slingshot launcher features a fully adjustable initial velocity vector and a balanced launch platform. The design facilitates quantitative explorations of the dependence of the balloon range and time of flight on the initial speed, launch angle, and projectile mass, in an environment where quadratic air drag is important. Presented are theory and experiments that characterize this drag, and theory and experiments that characterize the non- linear elastic energy and hysteresis of the latex tubing used in the slingshot. The experiments can be carried out with inexpensive and readily available tools and materials. The launcher provides an engaging way to teach projectile motion and elastic energy to students of a wide variety of ages.

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