How to Build a Newton Car

••• Hill Street Studios/DigitalVision/GettyImages

A Newton car demonstrates Newton’s third law of motion, namely the law of interaction: For each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The car does this by hurling a weight off the back, forcing itself forward. This is a demonstration of how rockets are propelled in space, ejecting something that was initially internal. (This experiment also illustrates his second law of motion: Force equals mass times acceleration.)

    Use the plane to round out the front lower edge of the block of wood.

    This will be one of the 10 cm edges. (Picture the block lying flat.) Doing so will allow the car to travel over the straws laid in its path.

    Screw the three screws into one of the two broad sides of the board, so as to form a triangle centered on the board.

    Two screws will be close to the corners at the end of the board opposite the end that was planed. The third will be at the other, planed end of the board, some 20 cm away, centered between two corners on its own end.

    Loop a rubber band over the back pair of screws, then pull it forward and tie its center to the third screw with a piece of string.

    Make a track for the car with equally spaced straws in front of its planed end.

    Place the film container onto the board, inside the V-shape made by the rubber band. Fill it with weights, e.g., pennies.

    Place the board flat on top of the straws, screw and weight side up.

    Cut or burn the string to release the rubber band, sending the film container and the car in opposite directions, having exerted equal and opposite forces on each other. The car will accelerate over the straws, which will provide a near frictionless path.

    Things You'll Need

    • 25 straight straws (not flexi)
    • rubber bands
    • string
    • block of wood, about 10x20x2.5 cm
    • 3 3-inch #10 wood screws
    • wood plane
    • scissors or matches
    • plastic film container
    • screwdriver
    • pennies or other small weights

Related Articles

Types of Newton Scooters
How to Build a Gyroscope
How to Make Containers for an Egg Drop Experiment
Information on Ford 3000 Tractors
How to Mix Vinegar & Baking Soda in a Bottle Rocket
How to Make a Trash Car That Will Move for a School...
How To Make a Compound Machine for a School Project
How to Build a Compound Machine to Pop a Balloon
How to Build an Elevator Pulley
How to Make a Car for a School Project
Science Projects on Newton's Second Law of Motion
How to Calculate Weight Per Linear Foot
How to Size H-Beams
What Are Some Examples of the Laws of Motion?
How to Build Simple Machines From Household Items
Self-Powered Car Science Projects
How to Make an Elevator for a Science Fair Project
How to Build a Rube Goldberg Device to Raise a Flag
How to Make a Rocket Car With Baking Soda & Vinegar
Second Law of Motion Experiments

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!