Archimedes Challenge

Physics 11 (Ms Jackson)

The Physics of Ancient Inventions 

Ancient Invention: The Catapult 

By: Jaxson Abdou

Date: November 28, 2017



During the middle ages many weapons were created to help in battle. The Catapult dates back to around 400 BC, where it was invented the Greek in the city, Syracuse. The catapult was mainly built due to the rising height of castle walls. There are many different types of catapults including: Ballista, Mangonel, and Trebuchet. Our catapult is a Mangonel. During battle different objects were thrown from the catapult, these included: dead bodies, rocks, and later on, grenades.  When first built they were strictly made and used to win battles, but we still use catapults. We do not hurl projectiles at castles anymore, but we do build them to have fun.


Physics involved in your machine: 

Catapults are full of physics. From the power that the catapult has, to the distant it can force an object to travel. Our Catapult also includes elastic tension to create its power. Potential Energy is also involved due to the position of the hand. This potential energy is not due to gravity though, it is due to the elastic force. Most of the power and energy of a catapult is made from tension. Catapult physics is basically the use of stored energy to hurl a projectile.

Finding Height:

Mass: 0.5kg

Vf: 10 m/s

Vi: o m/s

g: 9.81 m/s


Finding Efficiency:

mass: 0.5kg

time: 2 seconds

Height: 5.1m

g: 9.81m/s



Design and Building Process: 

Day 1: At first we thought we were gonna make a cannon. So the first couple of days was full of drawing the machine, and making of list of supplies.

Day 2-4: After finding the design and supplies we spent a day making the cannon, these supplies included beer cans, gun powder (made of matches), and a wood platform. When finished we tested the cannon and came to the conclusion that it would not be appropriate to bring to school. The results were too powerful.

Day 5-6: After changing our Invention from the cannon to the catapult, we had lots of work to do! This included: making design, getting materials, finding the history of the catapult, and explaining the physics behind the catapult. Not gonna lie, we did a lot of procrastinating.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4: Final Product


Along the way we faced many challenges. Our first challenge was losing a valued partner due to differences, that could of been dealt with a lot better. The second challenge we faced, was having to change our project entirely due to the overwhelming power of the cannon. Lastly, when making the catapult we had blown a fuse in the garage. Overall this was a fun project, but I would definitely do it different next time.



Youtube video of cannon: