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If cars had magnets

  1. Jun 18, 2012 #1
    Hypothetically, if two cars had large electromagnets with like-magnetic poles, would they repel if accelerated toward each other at a high rate of speed?

    Just one of those thoughts you randomly make up in your head.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2012 #2
    How 'large' are we talking here? Hypothetically you could get magnets powerful enough to prevent two cars moving toward each other from crashing.

    Practicality-wise, it would take a pretty large amount of power to produce a field strong enough to actually stop them. I'm sure there exists something strong enough but fitting it on/in the car might be the problem.
  4. Jun 18, 2012 #3
    Yeah I wasn't necessarily talking about this being a possibility - just wanted to know IF a magnetic field could theoretically become powerful enough to stop cars from colliding.
  5. Jun 18, 2012 #4
    Well then it absolutely can happen. It wouldn't be like hitting a brick wall, it would be more like driving into some kind of gel that got thicker and thicker as you went. Mathematically, being slowed by a magnetic field is different than slowing down through thick gel but the idea is the roughly the same.
  6. Jun 18, 2012 #5


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  7. Jun 18, 2012 #6
    Thanks for the link, Danger!
  8. Jun 18, 2012 #7


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  9. Jun 18, 2012 #8
    It would be dependent on the relative velocity of the two cars and the magnetic power of the magnets used. If you were to use low strength magnets I'd advise a slow relative velocity but if you were using stronger magnets such as neodymium magnets (and enough of it) you could use a relatively large velocity. Hope this helped.
  10. Jun 19, 2012 #9


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    There is one problem with this scheme... For obvious reasons you would want the whole surface of all cars to have the same pole (eg Lets all agree on North). Where would you put the south pole?

    I don't think you can make a sphere that's north on the outside and south on the inside.
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