There seems to be a few sporting events going on this summer, one in London seems to be a bit of a big deal and it got me thinking. Could I use SolidWorks to discover something about the track and field events?
Modelling a running person was discounted so I thought I'd examine one of the Field events and decided that the shot putt would be a good choice. So what was the question? I wanted to know what force was required to match the current world record. After modelling up the 'Field' and the Shot I then had to come up with a way of modelling the athlete. After a couple of minutes/hours thought I decided on a simple cannon. I would push the shot along the cannon at a fixed force. The launch track would be 2m. I felt that this would give a reasonable distance to accelerate and also that it would tie in with the actual distance the athlete moves the shot from start to finish. I only tested for a linear launch and that was what I had used in my school days. The rotation seemed a bit tricky.
So here was my setup:
Using SolidWorks Event Based Motion I created a simple study that would apply a force to the launcher to push the shot into the air. The simulation would then stop as soon as it hit the ground and triggered a proximity sensor.
I did not want to just use a random angle or force, I wanted to find out what the most efficient angle and force was to reach the World Record Distance. I decided to test these individually. So first to test the angle of launch, I created a Design Study. Design studies have been in SolidWorks for some time allowing the engineer to test a number of parameters against a system, but this was not something that could previously be carried out for Motion Simulation. This was something new for SolidWorks 2012 and I was keen to see what it would give me. I ran the test looking at angles from 30° to 45°. The optimal angle from this was 35.76°
So now I wanted to know the minimum force required to reach 21.97m the World Record. This time I set up another study just looking at the launch force. So what was the force required to launch a shot weighing 7.26kg (16lb) a distance of 21.97m (72 ft)?
413N (93 lbf). These guys are effectively lifting 42 kg with one hand! No wonder these guys are all built like a brick outhouse. That amount of power is incredible.
Once again I was able to use SolidWorks Motion Simulation and Simulation Professional to answer an Olympian question. What next?