Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists close in on ’superbrakes’ for cars

01.02.2005


A theoretical study of friction between solids that looks at the process just one molecule at a time could soon lead to a more effective way to stop cars in an emergency than simply slamming on the brakes or using ABS. This research is reported today in a special Einstein Year issue of the New Journal of Physics (www.njp.org) published jointly by the Institute of Physics and the German Physical Society (Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft).



Scientists and engineers have assimilated an enormous amount of empirical information on the processes taking place when two surfaces rub against each other producing friction. They have even devised numerous physical rules and laws to explain these forces. These laws are adequate for most practical purposes, but according to Peter Reimann and colleagues, our understanding of how friction is traced back to the behaviour of solids at the molecular level where surfaces meet is still far from complete. He and his colleagues hope to improve our fundamental understanding of the microscopic laws governing materials in contact.

"In our work, we consider theoretically a somewhat simplified setup," explains Reimann, "This consists of a single, very small point, which is pulled over an atomically flat surface." This, Reimann explains further, is an exceptionally simple and well controlled "minimal’" system that allows he and his team to study the forces between the point and the surface. Experimentalists studying friction use a similar setup to measure the actual forces involved.


Reimann’s team begins with a mathematical description of the system that takes into account the forces between the point and the surface at the microscopic level as the point is drawn across the surface. They found that their model could explain previous experimental findings confirming its validity. However, they have also drawn a surprising conclusion. The model suggests that the frictional force increase as the point begins to move, then reaches a maximum as it speeds up, and then falls if the point continues to be accelerated across the surface.

"We find this prediction quite surprising and experimentalists have already signalled their excitement to test it in their labs," says Reimann. If similar behaviour were seen with the friction between car tires and the road, then there are important implications for road safety. The findings suggest that neither locking the wheels nor the usual ABS-system is the most effective method of stopping a car in the shortest possible stopping distance, explains Reimann. He says that a compromise between the two approaches to braking could be much more effective.

David Reid | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iop.org

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht The car of the future – sleeper cars and travelling offices too?
18.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Self-driving cars for country roads
07.05.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>