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Javelin take-off angle and throw distance Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was carried out to determine how the take-off angle of a javelin will affect the distance traveled. Testing was done by by having an athlete throw a javelin at various angles. The distance achieved in each throw was then determined.

Hypothesis

The javelin will travel the furthest when thrown at 45°.

Scientific Terms

Aerodynamics, biomechanical, lift, drag

Background

Javelin throwing

The javelin was originally used as a weapon of war. The javelin used in wars of long ago was heavier than the javelin used in athletic competitions of today. The javelins of old were originally made of wood. But  modern day javelin re made of graphite or aluminum. Javelin throwing is one of the contested events in many major athletic events as well as in the Olympic games.

The javelin used in the men’s athletic event weighs 800 grams and the ones used in the women’s event weighs only 600 grams. The objective of the javelin throwing event is to throw the javelin the furthest possible distance without committing a foul. To achieve this, the athlete must give a lot of consideration to the aerodynamics and biomechanical principles involved in javelin throwing.

The three important factors that determine how far a javelin travels are the release speed, release angle and the throw height. The release speed is achieved by a combination of moves that involves the entire body. The release speed must also be combined with a correct release angle to achieve greater distances. The correct release angle will produce lift and minimize drag. Lastly, the throw height is determined by the height of the athlete. Thus, taller athletes tend to have an advantage when it comes to throw height!
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
30
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 day for this science project
Material availability:
Speak to your Physical Education teacher to arrange for the javelins and measuring tape to be borrowed for the purposes of this science project
Safety concerns:

Take care to stand at a clear distance away from the trajectory of the javelin during the javelin throws. Javelins should be thrown only by experienced athletes.  This experiment should be supervised by your physical education teacher.