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Folk

IB Physics
September 26, 2014
Projectiles: Bow and Arrow Lab
Aim
This experiment aims to determine the relationship between the extension of a bow and its
range.
Background Information
A bow and arrow is a projectile system used for hunting that has been around since
recorded history. A bow is an arc which shoots aerodynamic projectiles. Flexible strings at
the two ends are drawn back, creating potential energy. When the string is released, the
potential energy of the bow will transform into the velocity of the arrow. The velocity of the
bow is directly related to the extension of the bow; thus, it is expected that the range of the
arrow will be a direct proportion to the extension as governed by the equation

range=(initial velocity)(time)

(in the form of y=mx)

1 2
s=ut + a t
2

where

a=0 ].

In this experiment acceleration and time will be constants because the arrow will be shot
from a constant height.
Works Cited http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/bow-arrow.html
Apparatus
- A toy bow with a maximum extension of 15 cm
- 3 one-metre sticks
- A toy arrow 20. cm long
- 15 cm ruler
- Table with height 90. cm
Procedure
1. A toy bow is placed on a table 90 cm from the ground
2. An arrow is drawn into the bow, stretching the bow with the extension length of 5 cm,
then released from the bow.
3. The range of the arrow is measured using metre sticks. The arrow is measured from
the furthest point from the bow. This is repeated 5 times.
4. Steps 2 and 3 are repeated with 6 different extension lengths
(5 cm, 7 cm, 9 cm, 11 cm, 13 cm, 15 cm)
Variables
Independent Variable
Extension of the bow
Dependent Variable
Range of arrow shot from the bow
Controlled Variables
Conditions of the arrow (mass, length)
Height of table (90 cm)
Results/Data Analysis
Table 1. Cool Title Right Here
Range /cm Trials 2

Average Range /cm

Standard Error of
the Average Range

Trial Trial Trial Trial Trial


1
2
3
4
5
65
71
61
53
66

63

125

121

120

115

116

119

178

188

188

196

184

186

11

272

249

237

252

256

253

13

329

310

315

335

317

321

15

350

410

405

383

365

380.

10

Length of
Extension
/cm 1

Folk
IB Physics
September 26, 2014
Sample Calculations of Average range and Standard Error of measurement
5 cm
Average Range =

65+ 71+ 61+ 53+66


=63 cm
5

Standard Error of the Average Range:

( 6563 ) + (7163 ) + ( 6163 ) + ( 5363 ) + ( 6663 )


51
=3
5

11 cm
Average Range =

272+249+ 237+252+256
=253 cm
5

Standard Error of the Average Range:

( 272253 ) + ( 249253 ) + ( 237253 ) + ( 252252 ) + (256252 )


51
=6
5

15cm
Average Range =

350+ 410+ 405+383+365


=380 cm
5

Standard Error of the Average Range:

( 350380 ) + ( 410380 ) + ( 405380 ) + ( 383380 ) + ( 365380 )


51
=10
5

Graph 1. Cool Title Here

Folk
IB Physics
September 26, 2014

The graph above suggests a linear relationship between the range of the arrow and the
bows extension. The three calculated slopes in the lines of best fit are 31 (in green), 32 (in
red), and 33 (in blue). The average slope is
slope of

31+32+33
=33
3

with an error in average

3330
=2 .
2

Conclusion and Error Analysis


This experiment has successfully determined that the range of the arrow is
linear/directly proportional to the bows extension when systematic errors are taken into
account.
In the theory of

s=ut , the linear graph (graph 1) should have been a direct

proportion with the regression lines passing through the origin. This is caused by systematic
errors. In this experiment, we did not pull the bow exactly to the data extension, but instead,
we pulled it back 1 cm less than the data value because we realized that the maximum
extension was slightly less than 15 cm. For example, for the 13 cm extension length, we
actually pulled 12 cm. This problem could be compensated by adding a constant to the
ranges (in this experiments case, around 100 cm which is the current y-intercept). An
alternative way could be to use a longer bow or change the extension lengths.
An error that affected the result as a whole is the effect of air resistance. Air
resistance has slowed down all of the arrow trials, making the experimental ranges slower
than the theoretical range. This effect could be eliminated by performing the experiment in a

Folk
IB Physics
September 26, 2014
tightly controlled environment (in a vacuum). It could also be compensated by adding a
constant to the ranges.
There are also random and human errors in this experiment. The impreciseness and
inaccuracy of measuring the range is one of the most important errors. The error was due to
the ruler having such a long length, and the fact that precise measurements of range were
wasting experimental time.
The bow sliding along the floor when landed was also a big factor contributing to
random errors in this experiment. This has caused the floor having low friction and the bow
still having horizontal velocity upon landing. This can be compensated by performing the
experiment in a more frictious environment or by using technology to determine the exact
position of the landing.
The bow and arrow itself posed problems leading to some random errors. The arrow
shooting off at different angles (in respect to the horizontal plane) each time has altered the
range. The arrow occasionally being stuck onto the bow upon shooting (due to the friction
from the bow) may have caused the velocity of the arrow to slightly decrease and thus
lowering the range.
All of the random errors can be reduced by performing the experiment with multiple
trials.