AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

2009 High School Physics Photo Contest

Winner's Showcase

 

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First Place - Natural

Title: Pinch Yourself!!!
Student: Chase William Lampe
School: University High School, Tucson, Arizona
Teacher: Pamela Tautz

The picture of the orange Camaro's tire as it takes off from the starting line shows quite a lot of physics in just one instance. Before the car leaves for the finish line, the driver does a "burnout" where he/she heats the tires so they get traction. As the car launches, it uses traction creating friction to "grab" the ground. The combined work done by the friction and the heated rubber causes the tire to stick in one place while the rest of the tire comes spinning around which causes the folds in the tire to happen. The folds are an effect called shearing where to same materials deform to where they are able to slide across each other. The work being done by the motor on the axel, which does work on the wheel/tire causes the tire to fold in on itself.

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