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Tire stiffness and speedFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This experiment was conducted to ascertain the relationship between the stiffness or hardness of a tire and the speed that can be achieved by a racing car. Three types of tires of different stiffness/hardness are tested using go-kart vehicles.

Hypothesis

Softer tires provide better traction and therefore enable a go-kart to complete laps around a go-kart circuit in a shorter time, than hard tires.

Objective

This experiment was conducted to ascertain the relationship between the stiffness or hardness of a tire and the speed that can be achieved by a racing car. Three types of tires of different stiffness/hardness are tested using go-kart vehicles.

Scientific Terms

Traction, tires

Background

Tire types

Soft tires -these are tires made of relatively softer rubber. These tires provide very good traction but they wear out very quickly. Another disadvantage of soft tires is they are very expensive.

Medium tires -these tires fall between the soft tires and hard tires. They offer better traction than hard tires but are not as good as soft tires in terms of speed performance. They also last longer than soft tires.

Hard tires -these tires provide poor traction and therefore produce a slower speed, but are able to last longer.

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Complexity level:
5
Project cost ($):
300
Time required:
4 days to prepare, 3 days for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:
  1. Ensure the driver is properly trained to drive a go-kart.
  2. Ensure that safety protective gear is used by the driver.
  3. Inspect the tires before and after each race, to ensure they are still suitable for use.