Catapulting though Time & Physics

2317 Words5 Pages

Catapulting though Time & Physics Hurling an object towards one’s enemy may seem as old as time itself. People have hurled fists at each other, thrown spears, and launched giant rocks into enemy territory. The use of catapults, and other objects that hurl projectiles, also seem as old as human civilization itself. The effectiveness of the catapult in flinging objects over a great distance and causing destruction is due to a few basic physics principals that govern force, energy, motion, speed and mass to name a few. The design of the catapult denotes a change in modern warfare to the engineer behind weapons being just as important as the actual soldiers and people who use them. Projectile-throwing machines are found in three main categories: the catapult, the ballista, and the trebuchet (How Stuff Works). The catapult has a lever arm attached to a “bucket” that is usually pulled back by rope and the projectile is released when the rope is cut (How Stuff Works). The ballista is basically a giant crossbow and the trebuchet is similar to the catapult but is a weighted beam with a sling carrying the projectile (How Stuff Works). In this examination, we will mainly be discussing the design of the catapult and trebuchet. Catapults have been traced back to many different civilizations throughout history, but its modern origins are usually attributed to the Greeks and the ancient scientist Archimedes who designed them (Paul 58). We know that in 339 A.D. Dionysius ordered their design in Syracus (Hansen), but their history goes back even further. The first recorded description of the catapult found in the Bible 2,800 years ago (Paul 58). One passage gives the following description of a ruler of the kingdom of Judah : And i... ... middle of paper ... ...nd projectile motion among others. Even though the catapult and its physics are ancient, it has changed the way warfare is waged in the present. Works Cited Hansen, Peter V. "War Engines of the Middle Ages." The Medieval Center Seige Engines. 1998. 2 Nov. 2005 . Hewitt, Paul G. Conceptual Physics 10th Edition. 10th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Addison Wesley, 2006. "How Does a Catapult Work?" How Stuff Works. 2 Nov. 2005 . "Mechanics of a Simple Trebuchet." 2 Nov. 2005 . Paul, Jim. Catapult: Harry and I Build a Seige Weapon. New York: Villard Books, 1991. 54-62. Vogel, Steven. Cat's Paws and Catapults. New York, London: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1998.

More about Catapulting though Time & Physics

Open Document