FL =0.5 * 1.2 kg/m^3 *0.4 * 3.04m^2 * (“20m/s)^2 = 291.84 N
Answer: The car must fight air resistance with a force of 291.84 newtons
Formula 1 in the wind tunnel Aerodynamics is very important in Formula 1. While high downforce enables fast cornering, the lowest possible drag is responsible for fast straight-line speed. One of the most important tools for developing the car’s aerodynamics is the wind tunnel. Before using the wind tunnel, the team faces the challenge of reconstructing the aerodynamics using computer simulations. Only when the computer simulations appear realistic are the various concepts and improvements tested for effectiveness in the wind tunnel. In a real race, the car moves through space and air, while in the wind tunnel the factors are exchanged. The car is fixed in the duct and air is blown over and around the car with a large hair dryer. Nowadays, for cost reasons, 1:1 replicas of cars are not made to be tested in the wind tunnel, but the car models are only 60% of the size of the original. Many sensors are attached to the model, and their data can be analyzed using various high-tech methods. During a wind tunnel test, parameters that affect the car’s handling can also be specifically changed, so it is also possible to assess and optimize the car’s performance on different sections of the track.
Video wind tunnel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn2eisHLwwk&ab_channel=FIA
Video of the approach flow of a Formula 1 car https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlBVQoRGiIw
Circuit Albert Park
Formula 1 competes in a different country every race weekend. Australia traditionally hosts the first race of the season (Corona excluded). The Melbourne circuit (Circuit Albert Park) is 5.303 km long and has 16 corners. Drivers can reach speeds of up to 330 km/h, but sometimes have to slow down to 90 km/h before the corners.
Here’s a link to the track: https://www.f1-fansite.com/de/f1-Schaltungen/Albert-Park-Circuit/
One of the first thoughts that comes to mind with numbers like that is G-forces. But what are G-forces anyway, and how can they be made tangible? G-forces are loads, such as rapid changes in speed or direction, that act on the body. They are one force per mass. Under “normal” circumstances, only the mean acceleration due to gravity of 9.81m/s2 acts on the body. We are talking about 1g acting vertically (+Z) on the body. If one is in a car that accelerates, the acceleration a=F/m acts on the body of the driver (mass m) when a force F acts on it. Acceleration can alternatively mean braking or a fast change of direction to the right or left. Example: A racing driver drives with 200Kmh through a curve (radius 160m), so that a force of 19m/s2 acts on him. This corresponds to about 2g.
To be able to classify the G-forces acting on the body, the table below helps.
|1-2g||Everyday, Children’s swing||harmless|
|3-4g||roller coaster||narrowing of the visual field, verbal communication only possible to a limited extent|
|5-6g||Formula 1||unconsciousness in the untrained|
|7- 10g||Aerobatics||Even skilled pilots can become unconscious|
|20g||Traffic accident 50Km/h||Can be fatal be|
|180g||Maximum for chance of survival||Fractions of seconds bearable (Good luck)|
In the following video you can see, How Lewis Hamilton drives a lap on the Circuit Albert Park. In the lower left corner, you can see the G-forces achieved, which the driver must endure in each corner.
“Many people criticize Formula One for being an unnecessary risk. But what would life be like if we always did only what was necessary?” Niki Lauda
As shown in the video, the g-forces do not only act in one direction. To illustrate this, a coordinate system is shown on the right (Figure 3). The positive g-forces in the X-direction are probably the best known of their kind. Be it the takeoff of an airplane or the acceleration of a roller coaster. (Negative g-forces in the -X-direction during braking) G-forces in the y-direction occur during cornering. Formula 1 drivers are strongly affected here and need particularly well-trained neck muscles. Rapid accelerations in the z-direction can quickly lead to unconsciousness due to restricted cerebral blood flow. This mainly affects aerobatic pilots (or untrained passengers in an aerobatic plane). Humans are particularly sensitive to these G-forces. Thus, even relatively small g-forces (2-3g can be sufficient) can often cause loss of consciousness. This proves the upcoming video in a sympathetic way.
Conclusion & Outlook
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List of Figures.