Trebuchet Physics – Science Makes The Machine
Trebuchet physics are the reason these machines became one of the most feared siege weapons of all time.
Missing the mark wouldn’t have earned these huge catapults, capable of hurling protjectiles as heavy as 300 pounds at castle walls, the staunch reputation they hold in warfare history.
When it comes to trebuchet physics, a few major components are key to making them work at their top ability. Miscalculations led to less effective machines, but the art of trebuchet physics was nailed down to an exact science by many a medieval engineer.
The looking at treubecht physics, one of the most important things to note is that these catapults used counterweights instead of torsion force to hurl very heavy objects at targets. The purpose of the trebuchet was to crush and help an army defeat – well-built examples did just that.
Trebuchet physics basically involves the principles of the lever and sling. The lever involves having the force at one end and the load at the other with a fulcrum in between the two This idea behind this bit of trebuchet physics operates very much like a child’s teeter totter. If you remember what happened when a much heavier child sat on one end of the teeter totter from a smaller one, grasping how this bit of trebuchet physics works, shouldn’t be difficult. If the fulcrum is moved closer to the heavier end, the object sitting on the lighter end can be projected quite far if the right chain of events takes place.
In regard to the sling, trebuchet physics simply built on older concepts. A sling basically involves a holding cup and two strings. Both ends of the string are held and the sing is swung around. When the momentum is right, one end of the sling is let go of while the other is held – since objects in motion tend to stay in motion, the projectile continues to move forward even if the sling doesn’t. This is another huge portion of what made trebuchet physics work together to create a deadly siege weapon.
When these concepts are put together, the physics behind the trebuchet become clear. The machine has a long arm and an axle, or fulcrum, is placed more toward one end. The short end is the placeholder for a very heavy counterweight. On the other end is the sling. The principles of trebuchet physics are brought to life when the machine is loaded and the counterweight is set to drop. The projectile in the sling is pulled along and flung when the counterweight is activated.
Medieval engineering masters perfected the science behind trebuchet physics so well, these machines if constructed properly, could literally break very thick castle walls, creating openings for infantry to breach. The effectiveness of these machines and their physics has been illustrated quite nicely in movies such as “The Lord of the Rings.”
Considering trebuchet physics and how a few simple scientific concepts can be brought together to create a force to be recokoned with, it’s no wonder these machines have earned a place in history.