The Physics of Archery Essay

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The Physics of Archery

There are not many activities out there that relax and soothe me quite like shooting my bow. It is not as simple as it sounds though, just pulling on the string, releasing the string, and watching the arrow fly towards your target. There are a number of aspects that must be taken into consideration when trying to shoot a bow and arrow efficiently, this is where we will get into the physics of archery.

There are two main things to consider when looking at archery and the physics concepts behind it. First there is the bow, which basically is a device that uses human force over a distance and converts that into stored Mechanical Potential Energy. The second factor involves that stored Mechanical Energy being converted once again into Kinetic Energy when the string is released, almost all of that Kinetic Energy is transferred into the released arrow. Another way to look at a bow is in respect to a spring, a bow is almost like a spring that is storing energy that is to be transferred into the arrow once the string is released.

To realize the amount of force that is applied from the bow we must look at a number of ideas and concepts. For this application we will use only a Recurve bow or a Reflex bow, which basically is a long piece of wood with a rigid handle and two flexible limbs that are “recurved” away from the archer. Then those limbs are simply pulled back towards the archer by the means of a string or number of strings. There are also a number of other bow concepts we could look at, for instance the compound bow or even the crossbow. The compound bow is similar in design except that it uses cams, pulleys, and mechanical levers to produce a greater amount of stored energy with a less amount o...

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...or a smaller size of vanes.

So just as I said before, shooting a bow is much more than just simply pulling on the string, letting the string go, and watching your arrow fly towards the target. There is a lot more physics that come into play when shooting than those simple ideas stated in the previous sentence. My only advice to anyone who is interested in shooting a bow and arrow accurately and having fun at the same time would be to practice, practice, practice, and practice! Good luck, be careful, and have fun.

Works Cited:

Easton, Larry, Basic Concepts of Archery, 1999

Kirkpatrick, Larry; Wheeler, Gerald, Physics A World View, fourth edition. 2001

Ratcliff, Perry; Archers Advantage, 1999

Rees, Gareth, Stortford Archery Club, The Physics of Medieval Archery, 1995

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