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Newton Car - Printable Version

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Newton Car - Luke - 02-11-2022

I recall a NASA experiment from 1999 called the Newton Car [1] which actually can easily be adapted to age of PhyPhox!



To investigate how increasing the mass of an object thrown from a Newton Car affects the car's acceleration over a rolling track (Newton's Second Law of Motion and conservation of momentum 'Impulserhaltung').


In this activity, students test a slingshot-like device that throws a mass causing the car to move in the opposite direction. Unlike in the original pre-smartphone instruction, we load the car with a smart phone running phyphox in acceleration measurement. Hence, we have the Newton car loaded with more mass!

Materials and Tools:

• 1 Wooden block about 10 x 20 x 2.5 cm

• 3 3-inch No. 10 wood screws (round head)

• 12 Round pencils or short lengths of similar dowel

• Plastic film canister
 - (ha ha, this will be a challenge ;-)

• Assorted materials for filling canister

(e.g. washers, nuts, etc.)

• 3 Rubber bands

• Cotton string

• Safety lighter

• Eye protection for each student

• Metric beam balance (Primer Balance)

• Vice

• Screwdriver

• Meter stick
• Smartphone, cell phone


1. Rockets: A Teacher's Guide with Activities in Science, Mathematics, and Technology EG-1999-06-108-HQ, Page 70's%20Guide%20with%20Activities%20in%20Science,%20Mathematics,%20and%20Technology.pdf

RE: Newton Car - Jens Noritzsch - 02-11-2022

For a short time, I was worried that you replaced the plastic film canister with the smartphone… Wink

Have you already tried it?