How does a Pinewood Derby car work?

How does a Pinewood Derby car work?

Pinewood derby cars are gravity-powered vehicles. They start the race on a sloped track held back by starting pins. When the pins drop, the cars roll down the sloped track towards the finish line, guided by rails. Most tracks are built with a transition from the sloped starting section to a long flat section.

Do aerodynamics matter in Pinewood Derby?

A more aerodynamic car (but very similar for other things) doesn’t give you much bang for your buck. Friction will get you. If you can reduce the coefficient of friction by just a little bit, it will make a noticeable difference. If you let your kids do most of the work, they will gain more than a win.

What makes a Pinewood Derby car fast?

Aerodynamics have little effect in such a short race, but weight does and putting the weight at the back of the car will make your car faster on the flat of the track. Tungsten weights, in most cases, are best because of their high density. Lube the car at the body/wheel friction point.

Why does a heavier Pinewood Derby car go faster?

Why is a heavier pinewood derby car faster? Pinewood derby cars are powered by gravity. They start on a slope and the weight of the car pushes the car down the slope. A heavy car will get more push as it goes down the slope.

Is a heavier car better for Pinewood Derby?

Weight and Placement in Pinewood Derby Cars. One of the most fundamental rules in the Pinewood Derby is the maximum weight limit of 5.000 ounces, or 141.643 grams. Simple physical principles dictate that a heavier car will run faster.

What is the most aerodynamic shape for a Pinewood Derby car?

simple wedge
But aerodynamics rule the day, and the best shape is a simple wedge. Just like a spoiler on the rear of a sports car, the wedge shape allows as much air to flow over the top of the car without hinderance while keeping the car pinned to the track.

Can a Pinewood Derby car have 3 wheels?

Especially when using axle slots, it is often quite difficult to get all four wheels to touch the ground evenly. In fact, many times people end up with three-wheeled pinewood derby cars by accident! Don’t let your car design be accidental.

How much does a Pinewood Derby car need to weigh?

5 ounces
Your car should weigh as much as it’s allowed. In most races, a Pinewood Derby car’s weight is limited to 5 ounces. If your car weighs less than that, add coins or other weights.

Who is the director of physics and the pinewood derby?

Physics and the Pinewood Derby is the brainchild of Dr. Scott Acton — he wrote the script, acted as the producer, director, and main actor. The film was the direct result of his experiences teaching science to his own son through the Pinewood Derby, as well as presentations he gave to his local Cub Scout pack on what they learned.

Is there air resistance in a pine Derby?

Yes, there is air resistance with these pine derby cars. And yes, for that effect the mass of the car does indeed matter. How much does it matter? First, what model will I use for the air resistance force?

What’s the maximum mass for a pinewood derby?

Start with a standard block of pine with standard wheels and axles. Maximum mass is set – usually around 142 grams or something. You can cut the block down and then add weights. Usually you can sand and lube the axles.

Who is Dr Acton from pinewood derby working for?

Dr. Acton is currently employed by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation, Inc. in Boulder, Colorado. He recently completed his James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) World Bike Tour, in which he rode almost 15,000 miles on his bicycle around the world, stopping to give talks about his work on the telescope.