# Calculating driving force from wheel rpm, wheel radius and engine power

1. Oct 13, 2009

### paul_harris77

I have spent a while trying to work out a simple equation to give me the driving force of the engine in a car using the inputs: Power, wheel radius and rpm but when I put in real numbers from a production car, I get low values of 2197N. The equation I have derived is:

Driving force = 30*P/(rpm*r*pi) where P is the power of the engine in Watts, rpm is the rpm of the wheel after it is geared down, and r is the radius of the wheel.

Assuming there are no passengers or even a driver and the effects of friction and drag etc. are neglected, by my calculation of the maximum acceleration in first gear, given a car mass of 1420kg, is 1.5ms-2 which seems to me to be too low even for a slow car.

To derive the equation I just used, the equations P=Tw, Torque= Force*wheel radius and w = (rpm*pi)/30, where w is the angular velocity, T torque and P power.

Can anyone verify if this equation is right and whether I have done something wrong?

Many thanks

Regards

Paul Harris

2. Oct 13, 2009

### xxChrisxx

The derivation is... different i'll give you that.

A tip for deriving this sort of stuff, start from where the power and torque are made (ie the engine). Then trace it along to the wheels. It's not working becucase you are putting in wrong values into an equation that wont acutally give you what you want. Where did you get the values you are sticking into that equation?

You dont even need power to calcualte the triving force, its all done with torque.

Torque*gear ratios = wheel torque.

Convert power to torque at the start if you dont have a torque figure.

If you are using power to determine acceleration, and therefore force you need a velocity.

Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
3. Oct 13, 2009

### Bob S

Hi Paul Harris-

First, the relation between force F and acceleration a is:

F = ma

Force times displacement dx is work (joules)

Force times work per unit time dx/dt is power (watts)

But dx/dt = velocity v

So P = Fv = mav (Newton-meters per second) = watts

You are already aware that it is easier to accelerate from zero to 10 mph than from 70 mph to 80 mph. The velocity v in this equation is why.

Now, write power as torque T (Newtons) times angular velocity w (radians per second) where RPM is wheel RPM.

P = 2 pi T RPM/60

P = 2 pi T RPM/60 = mav.

That's it. The wheel RPM is directly proportional to velocity, so once you know torque, mass and velocity, you can calculate acceleration. Note all units except RPM are metric.

Bob S

Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
4. Oct 14, 2009