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Driving on the Highway


Cvankerkhove

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Whether you notice it or not, there are fundamental concepts of physics on your way to the grocery store. For one thing, in an average car ride all three types of acceleration happen: acceleration, deceleration, and turning. Another thing, riding fast in a car helps me to understand concepts of inertia. When I was little, we would be traveling 50 mph down the highway, and I would throw a tennis ball in the air. The tennis ball moved with the car. I asked my dad why the ball didn't go flying to the back of the car. That was the moment I learned about the concept of inertia. Lastly, on highway 104, there is a very large round about turn. Every time we make this right turn, I feel as though I will fly to the left side of this car. Knowing physics, I now know that inertia is what makes my body feel that way, and the centripetal force of friction keeps me from doing so. I could even calculate the force felt by f=mv^2/r. 

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