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Drifting with Physics




Drifting had a lot to do with physics. I'm just gonna start right in with friction. Friction is one of the essentials when it comes to the physics of drifting. The amount of friction between the tires of a car and the surface depends on a lot of key factors. One factor is the surface and the condition of the surface. The amount of friction between the tires of the car and the surface can change because different surfaces have different patterns and different amounts of resistivity to sliding. On the reference table there is a difference in the coefficient of friction between asphalt and concrete. Rubber on asphalt has a kinetic coefficient of friction of .67 while on concrete it is .68. This may not seem like a huge difference but it can be. These numbers change a lot when the condition of the surface is change, for example when it gets wet or when the temperature changes. Friction also has a lot to do with the movement of the car. There is a difference between kinetic and static friction. Normally there is a higher coefficient of friction with static then kinetic. This is what really causes the car to start whipping around when drifting.


There's a lot more then just friction that plays a role in drifting. Weight shifting and acceleration both play a huge part in the drifting of a car. Most drift cars are rear wheel drive meaning that the driving force is coming from the back wheels not the front ones. When they look to accelerate the rear wheels try to find grip. With rear wheel drive cars there's less sliding and more grip because when the weight is shifted to the back, the car grips better because the center of gravity for the car moves slightly backward. This may seem like the opposite effect when it comes to drifting but there's more to it. Most drift cars have a locking rear differential. This means that when the back wheels spin they both spin at the same rate and they can't vary their speed. In normal cars one wheel can spin at a slower rate than the other. The locking rear differential allows the driver to drift around corners because any shift in the cars weight, like turning the wheel, will cause it to go off balance and spin around. That is how drifting happens. I hoped you enjoyed the post and as always here is a video for your enjoyment. This is an awesome drifting video enjoy.


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It almost looks like magic -- hard to imagine how they can control the cars through those maneuvers.

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