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6-12

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NOVA

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Energy Transfer in a Trebuchet

In this video segment adapted from NOVA, a team of historians, engineers, and trade experts recreate a medieval throwing machine called a trebuchet. To launch a projectile, a trebuchet utilizes the transfer of gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy. A massive counterweight at one end of a lever falls because of gravity, causing the other end of the lever to rise and release a projectile from a sling. As part of their design process, the engineers use models to help evaluate how well their designs will work.

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