Force of car at 40mph is equivalent to bowling ball at ?

In summary, the conversation discusses the difference in impact force between a 2000lb car moving at 40mph and an 8lb bowling ball moving at a certain speed. The participants consider using momentum and kinetic energy to understand the concept of impact force and its relation to mass, velocity, and contact area. However, it is noted that impact force also depends on factors such as strain rate and material stiffness, making it difficult to accurately quantify.
  • #1
denver75
9
0
Hi everyone,
Time for me to do another demonstration for some coworkers, and I want to make sure I'm being accurate.

The idea is to explain how much force a small 2000lb car moving at 40mph has, and then explain the speed that an 8lb bowling ball would need to have the same amount of force.


So far I've been looking at P=mv for the inertia. With that formula I get a velocity of 10,000mph for the bowling ball. That seems excessive!

I'd like to figure this out in terms of impact force, because ultimately we're discussing the damage done in an accident.

Any help on what I might want to look at next?
Thanks!
 
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  • #2
Velocity has no force associated with it unless there is an impact and in an impact, the force depends on how much distance or time there is for deceleration. The best you can do to discuss how they behave differently in an impact is with momentum (not inertia), which is mv and/or kinetic energy, which is mv^2.
 
  • #3
You have three initial variables across the two cases:

- velocity
- energy at impact (function of mass and velocity)
- contact area

The damage done to something that your car and your bowling ball hit will be a function of all three. If you peg both objects' kinetic energy upon impact as the same, the ball will obviously be traveling much faster due to its smaller mass. Depending on the strain rate dependency of the object being impacted, you may find that the faster impact may cause more damage due to a transition from ductile to brittle deformation, or an increase in material stiffness leading to a higher impact force being experienced. In addition, the area over which the kinetic energy is input into the structure will determine damage, as local stresses will be higher the smaller the area.

As Russ says, the best you can consider is the equivalent speed the ball must be traveling at to achieve the same kinetic energy or initial momentum upon impact. Unfortunately it's not an area that can be readily described by equations, but requires a degree of experimentation and/or thought work (as in you know you'd rather be hit by a bowling ball traveling at 30 mph than a car traveling at 30 mph and you can roughly explain why, but you haven't enough information to even begin estimating impact forces or damage).
 

1. What is the concept of force?

Force is a physical quantity that describes the interaction between two objects. It is a push or a pull that causes an object to accelerate or change its motion.

2. How is force measured?

Force is measured in units called Newtons (N). 1 Newton is equivalent to 1 kilogram-meter per second squared (kg·m/s²). To measure force, we use a tool called a spring scale or a force meter.

3. How does the force of a car at 40mph compare to a bowling ball?

The force of a car at 40mph is significantly greater than that of a bowling ball. This is because force is directly proportional to mass and acceleration. The car has a much greater mass than the bowling ball and is also moving at a higher speed, resulting in a much greater force.

4. Is the force of a car at 40mph dangerous?

The force of a car at 40mph can be dangerous, especially in the event of a collision. This force can cause significant damage to objects in its path, including other cars, buildings, or pedestrians. It is important to always follow speed limits and drive safely to minimize the risk of accidents.

5. How can we calculate the force of a car at 40mph?

To calculate the force of a car at 40mph, we can use the formula F=ma, where F is force, m is mass, and a is acceleration. The mass of the car can be determined by its weight and the acceleration can be calculated by dividing the change in speed by the time taken. By plugging in these values, we can find the force of the car at 40mph.

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