Introduction: Rocket Race Car

How to build and measure the acceleration of the fastest Hot Wheels car on the planet!!

Step 1: Rocket Race Car

How to build and measure the acceleration of the fastest Hot Wheels car on the planet!!

Step 2: Materials for Car

1. Hot Wheels Car
2. Size C Rocket Engine
3. Pen Tube
4. Hot Glue Gun
5. Straw

Step 3: Assembly of Car

1. Hot glue the size C rocket engine to the top of your Hot Wheels car.
2. Take car to the track (once it is built) and size it up to the wires for the correct placement of the pen tubes.
3. Cut your pen tube in half and glue one half to each side of the rocket engine at the correct place to allow for them to side on the wire.
4. Allow to dry
5. Cut a 2" piece of straw and hot glue it vertically on top of your rocket engine.

Step 4: Materials for Track

1. 20' 2x4
2. 8- 1.5" wood screws
3. 42' 12 gauge steel wire
4. 2- "L" brackets

Step 5: Assembly of Track

1. Attach one "L" bracket to each end of the 2x4 with 4 wood screws.
2. Take the wire and bend it in half.
3. Take the two ends of the wire and run them through the wholes in one of the "L" brackets, making a loop,  pull the wire all the way through.
3. Run the two ends of the wire down the rest of the track and tie them off on the other "L" bracket.

There should be two wires running parallel down the track, this will ensure the car goes down the track accurately and does not come off.

Now you will need to mark the track at the 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 meter marks, so you will know where to put the photogates.

Step 6: Electronic Equipment

1. Computer with Vernier software
2. 5- Vernier photogates
3. 5- Vernier photogate stands

You will be calculating the acceleration of your rocket car using the vernier equipment.  The photogates time the car as it travels down the track.  There will be 5 photogates equally spaced down the track, as the car breaks the beam on the photogate it starts a timer and records a time when the beam restores it records a second time.  As the car travels through the 5 photogates you will receive a series of 10 measurements, this will allow to make your calculations.    

Step 7: Trial Run

Once you have built your car, the track, and collected your vernier equipment, it is now time to run your trials.

To launch your car you will need a 12 volt battery and two wire leads.

1. Feed your car onto the track.
2. Tighten wires so that there is little play.
3. Set up photogate stands and photogates at each meter mark.
4. Connect photogates together and then to the computer.
5. Hit collect on the vernier program and run your car down the track, making sure the photogates are set to the right height and that the car breaks each of their beams.
6. Once everything is set, bring your car back to the start line and connect the two leads to the engine.
7. Hit collect on the vernier program
8. Touch other ends of leads to the battery and launch your engine.
9. You should have collected 10 times, enabling you to calculate your acceleration.
10. Not only can you calculate the acceleration of your car but you can now calculate the Speed, Average Speed, and Instantaneous Speed.

The Acceleration equation is as follows:

A= (Vf - Vi) / (Tf - Ti)        A = Acceleration
                                          V = Velocity
                                           t = Time

V = d / t                V = Velocity
                             d = Distance
                              t = Time

Forces Acting upon your vehicle:

Friction, as the wheels moved along the wood track.
Weight of the vehicle, our car weighed 70 grams.
Gravity, adding to the friction as your car moves along the track.