Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Race car safety idea

  1. May 15, 2015 #1
    I have been thinking about racecar safety, specifically protecting the driver's waist down area. I was thinking of a transmission tunnel, firewall area, and floor board (just by pedals)
    Here's The Idea:
    What if I used a Carbon Fibre/ Kevlar weave to be flexable into the position you want then solidify it, (epoxy?) to these custom pieces, or pre-made plates?
    Main Question: Would this work?
    Side Questions:
    Would this be cost effective for say a 12" x12" plate?
    Does this already exist?
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2015 #2

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    What problem are you trying to solve?

    Is injury to the driver below the waist a 'thing'?
    Why is your solution so elaborate? What does it solve that a rollcage and sheet metal/fibreglass doesn't?
    Why not just design the shape from the start? Why must it be put in place and then hardened?
     
  4. May 15, 2015 #3
    Yes, Don Garlits got the rear (ball) area of his foot sheared off by a clutch failure that a maybe a tunnel like this could have saved.
    This solution applies to transmission area where ad a roll bar protects for rollover, and sheetmetal/fiberglass would break at the speed at which tsome of this parts blow up at (about the speed of a bullet) And for the last question, not all the cars made are the same width/length at each other (A 1971 Plymouth Duster isn't the same as a 1983 Chevorlet Camaro). We drag race, and these injuries although don't happen all the time, when they do, they can be life changing, (as of Don Garlits getting his ball of his foot cut off) As a common saying, better to be safe then sorry.
     
  5. May 15, 2015 #4

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This is for stock cars? That would have been helpful to know. I was thinking F1s or somesuch, which are designed from the ground up.

    So, other than this one incident, is injury below the waist common?

    "better to be safe then sorry" doesn;t scale well, when you're limited by weight, and have a large number of eventualities that could occur.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  6. May 15, 2015 #5
    No, this is for racing (well, actually it can be used for stock cars but,) like our car (see profile pic) it has 750 horsepower with an automatic transmission which, might overload the tranny and blow it up, yes, we do have a plastic one with a tin aluminum one around it, but if it had a serious blow up, be prepared for big holes in the floor.
     
  7. May 15, 2015 #6

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Stock car racing. Isn't that a stock car? Or is my understanding antiquated?

    "... the term stock car came to mean any production-based automobile used in racing. This term is used to differentiate such a car from a race car, a special, custom-built car designed only for racing purposes ..."
     
  8. May 15, 2015 #7
    Oh, I thought you meant stock car as in from the factory, this is just for racing in general (Drag, NASCAR, F1, Dirt) I was also looking at prices for Carbon Fibre/ Kevlar fabric and its actually not that bad.
     
  9. May 15, 2015 #8

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Do you know that kevlar will stop a stampeding gearbox where a metal plate won't?
    Kevlar vests stop high-speed low, mass bullets, but...
     
  10. May 16, 2015 #9

    billy_joule

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    'Let's use Kevlar' is a poor solution. For situations that require energy absorption 'let's find a material with good toughness (energy absorbed up to failure) ' is a better path. Whether Kevlar meets your specs is another matter.
    Never over constrain your problem.
     
  11. May 16, 2015 #10

    Ranger Mike

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  12. May 16, 2015 #11

    jack action

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Ranger Mike is right on the money. This thread has a lot of side talk for an obvious, well-known, solution:

    http://www.stroudsafety.com/Images/Engine-TransBlanketLg.jpg [Broken] ​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  13. May 28, 2015 #12
    I am assuming that the Don Garlits incident that you are speaking of is while he was driving his front engine Rail. That would be why we now for the most part run the driver in front of the engine. Also in that accident there was a "flak jacket" in use. In theory I like the idea you have however, the take away lessons that I picked up there are (1) not all equipment damages generate shrapnel. (2) not much (of that era technology) will stop a wildly spinning clutch disc when your sitting on the bell housing.

    I would tend to look at a layered device similar to a chain saw chap that would entangle the larges grating pieces as a good inclusion.
     
  14. Jun 1, 2015 #13

    Randy Beikmann

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The level of the danger depends on the spinning parts and their speed. I've seen clutch "blankets" and transmission blankets (as above), and sometimes metal shields. There are also "driveshaft hoops" to catch the front of a broken driveshaft and keep it from coming inside the car or making you pole-vault. So the solution depends on the danger you are protecting from.
     
  15. Jun 1, 2015 #14

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    When I drove a beater that was dying noisily, I could not shake an irrational fear of this very thing.
     
  16. Jun 2, 2015 #15

    Randy Beikmann

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I once had a pinion shaft break and found myself at 100 mph with the rear of the driveshaft dragging on the ground. I was lucky it wasn't the front!
     
  17. Jun 2, 2015 #16

    Ranger Mike

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Exactly why NHRA and other sanctioning organizations mandated a front safety hoop around the front of the drive shaft just behind the front U joint back in the early 1960s
     
  18. Jun 2, 2015 #17

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Saw this on the highway a couple years back. Wasn't the drive shaft obviously, but some sort of long, thin rod (at least 4 feet long, 1/4" dia) was protruding form a car from near the near axle - dragging on the ground, point-first, shooting up sparks. (I'm sure it was originally more like 5 feet long, and had been ground down to 4 feet).

    I flagged them to pull over and check it, though I don't think they took me seriously.

    I'd hate to think what might happen if they hit a pothole.
     
  19. Jul 16, 2015 #18
    The cost of a 12" kevlar plate would be around $40, and the carbon fiber would be about $25. That is quite a bit of money.
     
  20. Jul 17, 2015 #19

    Ranger Mike

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    do you know how to make a small fortune in racing?
    start wit ha Big Fortune...roger penske..
    my point is money should not be used in the same sentence as SAFETY.
     
  21. Dec 6, 2015 #20
    Ranger Mike has a very valid point, money should never stand in the way of safety, if you can't afford safety then you can;'t afford to race. I I think the OP has a valid point, injuries from the waste down is a very real issue, look at sprint cars, fuel altereds, even karts for that matter, while lots of these have been addressed as in the trans blanket, and blow proof bell housings, protecting a drivers legs is a good idea.
    Is the original posters idea the best solution? maybe not, BUT it has inspired some interesting thoughts, and that is worth something. even though some here don't seem to think so.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Race car safety idea
  1. Race car suspension Class (Replies: 1,285)

  2. Race car Set-up help (Replies: 10)

Loading...