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The Physics of Siege Engines

Posted at 2:25 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 12:12:37-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Ever wonder how Trebuchet’s, Catapults and Onagers were used to break down walls in ancient times? Well, the short answer is science and moreover physics.

The basic premise of all of these devices is that potential energy gets built up and stored when getting ready to launch and then that energy is released once fired. This energy is what hurls whatever object was loaded with into whatever structure it was pointed at.

While no battles are being fought with these weapons now days, this “science of siege” can make for a fun, at home experiment.

To build your own catapult and something similar to the one show in the segment, click here..

With some inexpensive supplies and a short construction period, your kids could rule the playroom... all thanks to physics.

*A little supervision on this is good and NEVER launch anything that might hurt someone. Marshmallows are a delicious and safe ordnance.

For more fun experiments in person or at home, visit: clarkplanetarium.org.