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B How do forces of the tires contribute to car rollovers?

  1. Mar 9, 2016 #1
    I'm trying to understand the physics of car rollovers and perhaps what can prevent them in terms of the forces that are involved. According to various diagrams I've seen, there is friction applied by the tires (with some diagrams showing a set of forces acting only on a single tire which provides an axis of rotation for the case of a car rollover).

    If there were a higher amount of friction provided by the tires, would this decrease the amount of rotation/decrease the chances of a car rolling over? If the tires applied a greater amount of friction, would this adversely affect the turning of the car itself? Also, is there any relationship between the car's center of gravity and the forces on the tires that contribute to the car rolling over (I guess maybe the torque itself?)?

    Any insight into these questions would be greatly, greatly appreciated! I'm trying to work on a project that involves the physics of car rollovers so I'd really like to understand them more to see if my project can possibly lead to some sort of aid in preventing car rollovers... but that involves understanding the fundamental physics of them first and if there is even any relationship between what I'm looking at.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2016 #2
    well i was also looking at those specific conditions for 'rollovers of vehicles' i.e analysis of accidents - you might have seen the following and if not kindly do visit-
    < https://www.accidentreconstruction.com/research/suv/rollovers[1].pdf>
    then one can discuss the details of role of lateral acceleration and g on the cars.
  4. Mar 10, 2016 #3
    No. Quite the opposite. Consider the extreme case of a car on smooth ice. It's tires have very little friction with the surface. If you apply a lateral force to that car it will slide rather then roll.

    No. Quite the opposite. Greater friction means that the tires can apply a greater force to the car. It is this force that makes the car turn, accelerate, or stop.

    In order for a car to roll, there must be a torque on the car that is sufficient to raise it's center of gravity to the point where it would be balanced over 2 wheels. So, the lower the center of gravity, and the wider the track width of the vehicle, the more torque is required. This torque originates from the friction force of the tires against the road. On a sports car like a Corvette, the center of gravity is so low and the track is so wide, that the tires can never (in normal circumstances) produce enough friction to raise the it up high enough to roll over.

    So, in summary...
    Low center of gravity and a wide track make a vehicle harder to roll.
    High friction tires give you more force with which you can roll it, but, that same force is what you need to control the car, so it's not something you'd typically want to deliberately reduce.
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