Physics.

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Frontal Crash Avoidance (Even On An Ice Rink)

Many car, truck and SUV models now have frontal crash avoidance systems. You can start your research on them at:

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/crash-avoidance-technologies/topicoverview

These systems detect closing speeds between your vehicle and the one in front of you. If the closing speed suggests an imminent collision, the car will either 1) warn the driver and rely on the driver to activate the brake or 2) newer models will actually bypass the driver altogether and apply the brakes without any driver intervention. These systems, though new, are showing evidence of decreasing the number of collisions and the severity of injuries. However, frontal crash avoidance systems no matter how advanced still ultimately rely on braking force. The braking force is proportional to the frictional coefficient and thus, when traction is compromised, the effectiveness of a frontal crash avoidance system is diminished. 

Imagine a vehicle closing fast on a vehicle up ahead. The frontal crash avoidance system identifies the problem and applies the brakes but the car is on black ice and the brakes can only exert a very small force, not nearly large enough to stop the car before a collision occurs. What could the next innovation be? Look no further than Newton’s Third Law. If the car was equipped with rockets, the crash avoidance system could stop the car very quickly in any road conditions. 

Your task is to design a new frontal crash system that includes rockets. You will do so for a particular model vehicle of your choice (no repeats). 

You must include relevant energy, impulse and momentum calculations to show that your vehicle can perform within certain performance criteria that you will also define. Include a labeled sketch of your design, a discussion about limitations of your system, and highlight important design considerations that might affect safety of the vehicle occupants and bystanders. 

    • a month ago
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