Friction

Friction

Friction

Friction-noun resistance that one object encounters when moving over another.

 

 

Friction is a term that many people have heard of before, but there is some misunderstanding of exactly how it applies in the real world. First of all, friction is resistance and not force. This simply means that friction is a measurement of the amount of resistance that an object is encountering. Furthermore, the amount of friction an object is encountering is said to be its coefficient. Giving meaning to the term coefficient of friction. So, the larger the coefficient of friction the greater the resistance the object is encountering. To put this into perspective, imagine a situation in which you are trying to train both a cat and a dog to fetch your newspaper. Even though you are trying to accomplish the same feat, you will experience a much greater amount of resistance from the cat than you will from the dog*.

 

Understanding friction is one of the key components in making a racecar go faster. If you are a loyal reader you will remember that  when the car is in a turn, the friction between the tires and the pavement is what is keeping the car from flying off the track. However, friction can also work against you because friction creates drag and drag decreases the overall top speed of the car. So which is better grip or speed? Well, the answer that it depends on whether the you want the car to be fast in a straight line or fast through the corners. If there is too much friction or grip, the car will not accelerate to it`s top speed, however if there is not enough grip the car will not be able to stay on track through the corners creating spectacular screens of sliding (cool to watch, but not very fast). The challenge is finding balance, that mystical blend of corner grip and top speed, that is what sets the track records and wins races.

 

 

 

-Mike

 

 

 

 

* I don`t know if I ever have seen a dog outside the movies that will fetch the newspaper  for it`s owner.

photo

The key to making a racecar go faster through the corners, keeping the most amount of the tire in contact with the track.