Effect of Various Factors on the Range of a Trebuchet

The trebuchet was a weapon used in the Middle Ages which used the power of a falling weight to launch projectiles a great distance. These machines were very sensitive to the factors in their design, and since they fired the same way every time, they were incredibly accurate. The purpose of our experiment was to determine what the effects of three variables, counterweight, pin angle, and position of axle, had on the range of a trebuchet. To do this, we constructed a trebuchet which could vary all three of these variables into three different settings. We then launched a tennis ball and recorded the distance it traveled at each setting, and performed five sets of trials. We performed a three-factor Design of Experiment on the data and found that there was some effect from each variable. Position of axle had the greatest effect, followed by the counterweight, and pin angle only caused a mild increase in range.

Research Done By:

Alex Kuhn
Center Line High School

Craig Schlicht
Warren Mott High School