Winter Olympics 2018: The Physics of Blazing Fast Bobsled Runs

I don't understand really much about bobsleds–but I know quite a bit about physics. Here is my summary of the bobsled event from the winter Olympics. Some humans get in a sled. The sled goes down an incline that is covered in ice. The humans will need to do two things: push fast turn to travel through the course and for the thing moving. However from a physics standpoint, it's a block sliding down an incline. Just like on your physics course.

So here is a block on a low friction likely plane–view, that's just like a bobsled.

You can observe that there basically three forces acting on this box (bobsled). Let's have a quick look.

In this situation, the gravitational force is the doesn't change. Whenever you are near the surface of the Earth, the gravitational force (also called the weight) only is determined by two things: the gravitational field as well as the bulk of the item. The gravitational field actually decreases as you get farther away from the center of the Earth–but the very top of the tallest mountain isn't that far away, so we state this value is continuous. This gravitational field has a value of approximately 9.8 Newtons per kilogram and points directly down (and we use the symbol g for this). If you multiply the gravitational field by the mass (in kilograms), you get a force in Newtons. Simple.

The force is the power with which the box is pushed on by the inclined plane. But wait! It's not pushing up, it's shoving perpendicular. Since the force is vertical, we call this the normal power (the geometry definition of ordinary). But there's still a little problem–there is not any equation for force that is ordinary. The normal force is a power of restriction. It pushes with whatever magnitude it needs to to keep the box constrained to the plane’s surface. So the only way to find this force’s magnitude would be to assume the acceleration perpendicular to the plane is zero. That means that this force must cancel the part of the gravitational force that is also perpendicular to the plane. In the end, the ordinary force will decrease as the angle of the incline increases (a block on a vertical wall would have zero regular force).

The force is the force. This force is also an interaction between the box along with the airplane. However, this frictional force is parallel to the surface rather than vertical. We predict that this friction if the block is slipping. In the most elementary version, the magnitude of the frictional force depends on two things: the types of surfaces interacting (we call the coefficient of friction) and the magnitude of the normal force. The harder you push two surfaces together, the greater the frictional force (but you knew that).

Now we are ready for the important part–the relationship between force and acceleration. The magnitude of the total force in one direction is equivalent to the product of the item's mass and acceleration. For the x-direction, this might seem like this:

The important thing here is that the object’s acceleration depends on both the total force and the object’s mass. If you keep the force constant but increase the mass, then the object would get a smaller acceleration. Let's put this all together. I will set the x-axis across the exact same direction as the airplane. This means there are two forces that will help determine the acceleration down the inclined plane: portion of the gravitational force and the frictional force. The gravitational force increases with bulk–but so does the frictional force because it is dependent upon the regular force. What we have are. Therefore the bulk of the cube doesn't matter for the stride down the incline. It merely depends upon the inclination angle and the coefficient of friction. In a race, a big block and a little block would finish in a tie (supposing they started using the same speed).

If bulk doesn't matter would a four individual bobsled be quicker? There has to be some other forcejust one that doesn't depend on the bulk of the item. This force is the air resistance force. You already know about it Whenever you stay your hand you can truly feel this air resistance force. In the model, it depends upon many things: the object’s speed, the size and contour of the item, and the density of air. This air resistance force increases, as the speed increases. But note that this does not depend on the mass.

Let me show the impact this has on a bobsled using the instance. Suppose I have two blocks travel at exactly the speed and slipping down inclines. Everything is identical but for the mass. Box A has a small mass and box B includes a large mass.

Although they have the exact same air force and same speed, the heavier box (box B) will have the greater acceleration. Because it has a larger mass, this air resistance force is going to have a smaller impact on its acceleration. So mass does really matter in this case. The air drag things quite a bit. That's bobsled teams are very concerned about the aerodynamics of the vehicle. When competing in the Olympics, every little bit matters.

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