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The relationship between the firmness of a car's suspension system and the car's speed around bends Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

The purpose of conducting this experiment is to find out how a change in the firmness of a car's suspension impacts the carís speeds as it travels around bends.

Hypothesis

The firmer the suspension, the faster the car is able to travel around bends.

Scientific Terms

Remote controlled car assembly, potential energy.

Background

How do springs work?   

The cornerstone of a car's suspension system is a large coil of spring. In fact, there are four of these, one at each wheel.  Springs are found in many objects at home, such as mechanical pencils. A spring is an elastic metal object which is able to store elastic potential energy.  A spring stores energy (called potential energy) when it is pulled, without being released. This energy is created as a result of the application of a pulling force on the spring.

A spring can be stretched or compressed. The same mathematics holds for stretching, as for compressing springs. Here, we will primarily discuss energy as it is stored in a spring when it is stretched.

In cars, springs are an integral part of the car's suspension system, which serves to cushion the bumps and the rocking of the car as it moves. This provides for a much more comfortable ride, for the driver and the passengers.

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Complexity level:
4
Project cost ($):
40
Time required:
2 hours to prepare the car for experiment, 1 hour to run the experiment.
Material availability:
Remote control cars and springs are available from recreational/hobby/toy shops. Some cars run on fuel while others run on batteries.
Safety concerns:

Ensure that the cars are run in a safe location. Never do so on an actual road.