There exists a cause why gasoline is becoming so common within our international economy – just 1 litre includes 56 megajoules (1 MJ means 1 million joules) of power, which is more energy than you would get if you erupted the same amount of TNT.
So what happens when our automobiles transform all then ram into each other or onto similarly hard objects?
While 80 percent of all that kinetic energy from fuel is lost as heat when we’re driving, the other 20 percent is more than enough to power our journeys. As Henry Reich points out in the video above, 20 percent of 56 million joules – 11 million joules – is still a lot of energy. To put this in perspective, it takes about 5 teaspoons of gas to accelerate a 2-tonne car to 60 km/h, and then you’ll need about 1/3 cup more gas for every subsequent minute of driving.
And while operating at 60 km/h maybe does not appear all that thrilling, Henry’s calculated the energy expenditure of accelerating a car to that speed and it’s equivalent to dropping a Stegosaurus off the top of a three-storey building.
But what happens when you want to stop an accelerating vehicle?
That power needs to go and depends on how you stop, where it moves. The energy is dissipated by the wheels heating up by using the wheels like usual. The folding of material dissipates the energy whenever you freeze right into a tree, that’s the physics of car crashes.
“Most cars only have around 50 cm of crushable space in which to dissipate the energy equivalent of our falling Stegosaur. That means that while crumpling, you need to maintain a resistive force of around a quarter of the thrust of the space shuttle’s main engine,” according to Henry.
You’ll be able to thank the remarkable technicians that made your car when they’ve found out how to prepare numerous shapes and sizes of structural steel towards the nose of one’s automobile to maintain the impression quick enough to place you at the least amount of threat as you can, as given the circumstances.
For a better picture, see the Physics of Car Crashes in the video below.