# Investigating a Car Collision

Hello:

I am not asking for help on a problem, but instead wondering if anybody has ever assigned (or been assigned) an in-depth research/investigation problem or project in their physics class that deals with a car collision?

What I am trying to find (or develop) is a problem or project that requires the students to measure, find, or be given important pieces of information from the scene of an accident like the road surfaces coefficient of friction, the weights of the vehicle(s), length of skid marks, and where the vehicles came to a stop.

They would then have to apply friction principles and Netwon's 2nd Law to determine the deceleration of the car, conservation of momentum when dealing with the cars colliding, etc. All of this would be done to work backwards to determine whether a particular car was speeding given a certain speed limit for the area of the accident.

The course is an algebra/trig-based high school physics. This project would be given to wrap up our mechanics unit (we would have covered kinematic formulas, Newton's Laws, Projectile Motion, Universal Gravitation, Laws of Conservation of Energy and Momentum, etc.). My goal is for it to be a culminating activity that require application of all of these things in a very real world setting. I would also have them write up a collision investigation report to submit to me, the prosecutor.

What I am wondering is if anybody has come across any good projects like this or has developed one themselves? I know that I could, with time, but I've always been a proponent of not recreating the wheel if somebody has found or created a project that is well developed!

Thanks!

## The Attempt at a Solution

Related Introductory Physics Homework Help News on Phys.org
berkeman
Mentor
Hello:

I am not asking for help on a problem, but instead wondering if anybody has ever assigned (or been assigned) an in-depth research/investigation problem or project in their physics class that deals with a car collision?

What I am trying to find (or develop) is a problem or project that requires the students to measure, find, or be given important pieces of information from the scene of an accident like the road surfaces coefficient of friction, the weights of the vehicle(s), length of skid marks, and where the vehicles came to a stop.

They would then have to apply friction principles and Netwon's 2nd Law to determine the deceleration of the car, conservation of momentum when dealing with the cars colliding, etc. All of this would be done to work backwards to determine whether a particular car was speeding given a certain speed limit for the area of the accident.

The course is an algebra/trig-based high school physics. This project would be given to wrap up our mechanics unit (we would have covered kinematic formulas, Newton's Laws, Projectile Motion, Universal Gravitation, Laws of Conservation of Energy and Momentum, etc.). My goal is for it to be a culminating activity that require application of all of these things in a very real world setting. I would also have them write up a collision investigation report to submit to me, the prosecutor.

What I am wondering is if anybody has come across any good projects like this or has developed one themselves? I know that I could, with time, but I've always been a proponent of not recreating the wheel if somebody has found or created a project that is well developed!

Thanks!

## The Attempt at a Solution

Interesting project. I'm not of direct help, but I googled car crash physics, and got a lot of good hits, including some about projects: