Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    30
  • comments
    5
  • views
    2,922

Horsepower

Sign in to follow this  
IVIR

451 views

Cars, especially sports cars, often have their horsepower compared as a somewhat ignorant method to determining the faster car. However, this is not the most accurate way of making judgement because there are other variables, some much more important, in determining a cars acceleration or top speed. While an engine's horsepower provides the force, accelerating the car, it is important to remember the basic fact that F=ma. Therefore, a 4000 lb car with twice as much horsepower as a 2000 lb car will accelerate at the same speed. This is the reason that lightweight sports cars that are often half the price of supercars have similar accelerations. Especially with the Porsche 911 GT3, any possible excess weight is removed to allow for the greatest acceleration, one that can compete with Lamborghinis and Ferraris.

Also, when people assume that more horsepower is equivalent to a greater top speed, they are ignoring a very important concept: terminal velocity. Yes, it is important to have a large enough engine to accelerate the car at a great rate, but ultimately when you start getting into the 200 mph area, design is much more important than power. As we learned earlier this year, air resistance is directly related to velocity. However, the extent of the air resistance varies greatly depending on the shape of an object (For example, dropping a book vs a sheet of paper). Therefore, it is necessary for car designers to minimize air resistance while still creating downforce in order to create the best results. The balance of these two goals and new advances in materials/aerodynamics is the reason that street legal cars have been increasing in performance greatly, but also the reason that creators are having a hard time creating a road legal car that hits above 250 mph, while still looking/feeling comfortable. 

Sign in to follow this  


0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

×
×
  • Create New...