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This is my main question for a science fair project, and I'm supposed to get feedback from an expert in this field to help with my research:

Will changes in the mass of an arrow affect its penetration distance into a cardboard target?

Not much.  It will have the same energy (integrate the force of the bow over the launch distance) upon launch that will have to be stopped by the target (resistance multiplied by penetration depth).  There will be minor differences, because the arrow (being heavier) will travel more slowly and therefore have to be aimed slightly differently.  Also, forces due to penetration may be dependent on the speed of the arrow.  The differences should be minor.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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