Rube Goldberg Machine

What is a Rube Goldberg machine?

A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption that completes a simple task using a series of complex steps.

The purpose of this project was to learn about the simple machines. These simple machines are the lever, wedge, inclined plane, pulley, wheel and axle, and the screw. We also learned about force, work, mechanical advantage, acceleration, and potential and kinetic energy. Along with all of this we learned how to use tools and do basic construction. In doing this project we developed a better understanding of these physics concepts.

How It Works

Step 1: The lacrosse ball rolls down the inclined plane. The ball has an acceleration of 5.21m/s^2.

Step 2: The ball falls into a cup which is attached to a pulley. The mechanical advantage of the pulley is 1.

Step 3: The movement of the pulley pushes another ball down a new inclined plane.

Step 4: The ball hits a weight making it fall. All of the Kinetic energy from the ball is transfered into the weight.

Step 5: The weight pulls the wheel and axle. the wheel and axel has a mechanical advantage of 1/18.

Step 6: The wheel and axel moves a wedge allowing the ball to roll down the inclined plane. The force of the wedge on the ball is 0.19 Newtons.

Step 7:The ball knocks out a block of wood. The force of the ball hitting the block of wood is 0.19 Newtons.

Step 8: The plank of wood falls, resulting in another inclined plane. The ball that rolls down this inclined plane originally had a potential energy of 0.0152 Joules.

Step 9: The ball rolls into another cup attached to a pulley. The mechanical advantage of this pulley is 1.

Step 10:The ball flips out of the cup, which hits a class one lever. The mechanical advantage of the lever is 0.82.

Step 11: The lever goes up on the opposite side and rings the bell!

What is a Rube Goldberg machine?

A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption that completes a simple task using a series of complex steps.

The purpose of this project was to learn about the simple machines. These simple machines are the lever, wedge, inclined plane, pulley, wheel and axle, and the screw. We also learned about force, work, mechanical advantage, acceleration, and potential and kinetic energy. Along with all of this we learned how to use tools and do basic construction. In doing this project we developed a better understanding of these physics concepts.

How It Works

Step 1: The lacrosse ball rolls down the inclined plane. The ball has an acceleration of 5.21m/s^2.

Step 2: The ball falls into a cup which is attached to a pulley. The mechanical advantage of the pulley is 1.

Step 3: The movement of the pulley pushes another ball down a new inclined plane.

Step 4: The ball hits a weight making it fall. All of the Kinetic energy from the ball is transfered into the weight.

Step 5: The weight pulls the wheel and axle. the wheel and axel has a mechanical advantage of 1/18.

Step 6: The wheel and axel moves a wedge allowing the ball to roll down the inclined plane. The force of the wedge on the ball is 0.19 Newtons.

Step 7:The ball knocks out a block of wood. The force of the ball hitting the block of wood is 0.19 Newtons.

Step 8: The plank of wood falls, resulting in another inclined plane. The ball that rolls down this inclined plane originally had a potential energy of 0.0152 Joules.

Step 9: The ball rolls into another cup attached to a pulley. The mechanical advantage of this pulley is 1.

Step 10:The ball flips out of the cup, which hits a class one lever. The mechanical advantage of the lever is 0.82.

Step 11: The lever goes up on the opposite side and rings the bell!

__Physics Concepts__

Speed: Speed is how fast something is moving. This can be calculated by dividing the distance by the time.(s=d/t) The unit for speed is meters per second.(m/s)

Velocity: Velocity is speed with a given direction. This can also be calculated by dividing the distance by the time. The unit is also meters per second.

Acceleration: Acceleration is the rate at which velocity is changing. This is calculated by dividing the change in velocity by the change in time.(acceleration=v/t) The unit used is meters per seconds squared. (m/s^2)

Force: A force is a push or a pull. Force can be calculated by multiplying the mass by the acceleration.(F=ma) The unit used for force is Newtons.(N)

Impulse: Impulse is the product of force and time interval during which the force acts. This is calculated by multiplying force by time.(Impulse=Ft) The unit used is kgm/s.

Momentum: Momentum is the product of the mass and the velocity of an object. Momentum is calculated by multiplying mass by velocity.(Momentum=mv) The unit used is kgm/s.

Work: Work is the product of the force on an object and the distance through which the object is moved. Work is calculated by multiplying force by distance.(W=Fd) The unit used is a Joule.(J)

Potential Energy: Potential energy is the energy of position, usually related to the relative position of two things. This is calculated by multiplying mass, acceleration due to gravity (9.8m/s^2), and height.(PE=mgh) The unit used is Joules.

Kinetic Energy: Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. The equation used to calculate this is 1/2mv^2. The unit used is Joules.

Mechanical Advantage: Mechanical advantage is the ratio of output force to input force for a machine. The equations that can be used are output force/input force or input distance/output distance. Mechanical advantage has no unit.

__Reflection__

In this project we learned many things. There were some fun and exciting days, and there were also some days when our whole group was frustrated. Some positive things that we learned from this project were cooperation and time management. After our first collaboration check in our group changed or improved the areas which were weaker. One area that all of us needed to improve was empathy. We simply started saying please and thank you more often. Although most of our project ran pretty smoothly, we definately ran into some bumps in the road. At first our group did not get along as well as we needed it to in order to complete the assignment. After working with each other for a little bit we started to cooperate better as a group. One other pit we ran into was time. We spent days trying to make one step work and it seemed as if we wouldn't have enough time to complete our machine. We started working more efficiently and tried not to get too distracted by other groups. The most exciting moment of this project was seeing our whole machine work entirely for the first time. Being able to share our machine with our parents, teachers, and the community was a lot of fun. I was impressed by the outcome of every group's machines, considering when we were given the assignment, I wasn't sure if we would be able to pull it off.