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Julia asked the Naked Scientists: I've recently started taking archery classes. One of the first things we're told is to never "dry fire" the bow - that is, pull the string all the way back and let go with no arrow loaded. Apparently, the bow can actually shatter if you do this. I don't really understand why. My instructor explained that ordinarily all that force is transferred to the arrow - but it seems like the amount of energy to propel that tiny little arrow would be quite small compared to what would be required to shatter a bow.
My guess. Oscillating vibrations perhaps even reinforcing themselves depending on the mass and length of your bow, the tension and material of that bow and string.And an evil sorcerer behind the bush?