Learning Is Fun for Engineering Students

Three Tri-County Engineering Seniors, Cole Bechet, Ethan Mullin, and Connor Schultz, have built working trebuchets that launch objects.  In medieval times, trebuchets were used in warfare for hurling large stones or other missiles.  The engineering students were challenged to create their own trebuchets not to use for warfare, but for implementing what they’ve learned in physics.

The students were challenged to create trebuchets from everyday materials.  They had to create drawings and calculate the swing angles making precise measurements for maximum forward momentum.  A trebuchet works by using the energy of a falling (and hinged) counterweight to launch a projectile (the payload), using mechanical advantage to achieve a high launch speed.

Once the trebuchets were completed, then came the fun part… Testing their trebuchets to determine the farthest distance they can hit a target with a ball.  Students used different projectiles to see how far they could launch them.  The distances of the objects started at 15 feet and projected to 90 feet. The engineering activity was a great way to engage students to find and use innovative ways to improve their trebuchet.