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Cars and Kinetic Energy — Some Simple Physics with Real-World Relevance
4.C. M. Graney, “A treasure trove of physics from a common source — Automobile acceleration data,” Phys. Teach. 43, 506–509 (Nov. 2005).
6.D. J. C. MacKay
, Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air
, Cambridge, UK
7.H. Tennekes, The Simple Science of Flight: From Insects to Jumbo Jets (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1997).
Engine power and top-speed specifications for many cars can be collected from both print and online sources. A complete list of the vehicle models, data, and sources used for Fig. 2
is provided as supplemental material for this paper, available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.4752039
. Most of the data are from Car and Driver
magazine and www.carfolio.com. A large number of contemporary cars and trucks have internally limited maximum speeds, so that the top speed is not the drag limited speed of the vehicle, prohibiting usage of these vehicles' specifications in the analysis presented here. This information on speed limiters is not noted at www.carfolio.com and must be searched for separately. In print, Car and Driver
lists whether the top speeds of vehicles tested are drag limited or “governor limited.” Data on SUVs are mostly taken from www.carfolio. com and www.carspecdirectory.com. The latter contains some nonsensical data; the reader should use caution. In converting units, it is useful to note that 1 horsepower equals 0.746 kilowatt, and 1 mile per hour equals 1.61 kilometers per hour.[Supplementary Material]
10.R. A. Serway and J. W. Jewett, Principles of Physics: A Calculus-Based Text, Vol. 1 (Cenage Learning, 2006).
11.Optimization and Computational Fluid Dynamics, edited by D. Thévenin and G. Janiga (Springer, Berlin, 2010), Chap. 7.
12.B. Heissing and M. Ersoy, Chassis Handbook: Fundamentals, Driving Dynamics, Components, Mechatronics, Perspectives (Vieweg+Teubner, Verlag, 2011).
13.W. P. Graebel, Engineering Fluid Mechanics (Taylor and Francis, New York, 2001), Chap. 7.
16.U. S. Energy Information Administration
, Annual Energy Review
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