|New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge|
Challenge Team Interim Report
The rattleback is a small, elliptical object shaped similar to the hull of a boat. Also called a celt, it exhibits very strange behavior when spun clockwise. If the object is placed on a flat surface and is rotated clockwise, it will gradually slow its speed until a point at which the two ends wobble up and down. The rattleback will then suddenly reverse its rotational direction and spin counter-clockwise for a few moments, then stopping completely. We wondered how and why this small, solid shaped object displayed properties which seem to defy basic principles of physics. Our team wants to be able to explain why and how the rattleback does what it does mathmatically. By analyzing and simulating the object we could better understand its unique characteristics.
Presently, we have not yet been able to locate or develop a mathmatical model relative to our project. There are a few books that we are aware of which explain the mathmatical aspect of the object. Our team is hoping to find these books and research the formulas behind its behavior, taking into account friction, radii, rate of spin, force, axies of inertia, etc. By developing such a mathmatical model, we will be able to calculate the numerous variables factored into the rattleback which account for its unique properties, in particular, reversing its torque. Our program should be able to describe the object under any conditions and be able to model its motions.
Since the "Kickoff Conference" at Glorieta, we have made substantial progress in our project. We have researched the rattleback and have learned a great deal pertaining to how it behaves the way it does. We have gathered most of our information from the internet. We have only come to one hurdle in our research: finding and developing equations which describe the rattleback. Our team has searched through libraries to the internet. A physics major from the University of Caterberry, in New Zealand, has also aided us in our progress greatly. She is very knowledgeable on the subject and is willing to help us in the development of our project.
The goal which our team has set to achieve is to create a program using the C/C++ programming language that mathmatically analyzes the rattleback and models its behavior under any circumstances. This, we feel, will then provide us with the knowledge to comprehend and be able to explain why the object can reverse its direction; possibly allowing us to learn how energy can be harnessed and transfered with greater efficiency.
For questions about the Supercomputing Challenge, a 501(c)3 organization, contact us at: consult1516 @ supercomputingchallenge.org
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80 Cascabel Street
Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544