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Car accelerators (off topic)

At 13:47 -0500 18/12/98, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

>You hold a car's accelerator constant
>to keep a constant speed.

That's actually correct terminology.

Force = mass x acceleration, right?

Well, on a car, like a plane, you four main forces: lift, gravity, drag,
and thrust.

Lift and gravity (with the help of the suspension) can be ignored.  So all
you have is thrust and drag.

Assume a car in a vaccuum - with on board oxygen.  :)  Let's ignore
friction for now.  If you depress the accelerator, say, 2 inches, it will
accelerate forever, continuously increasing speed (let's also ignore

If you depress the accelerator 4 inches, it will accelerate faster.

In real life, you have drag to balance thrust and drag increases with
speed.  If you depress the accelerator 2 inches, the car will accelerate
until it reaches a speed at which thrust=drag.  If you depress it 4 inches,
it will do the same, but the final speed will be higher than at 2 inches.

We now return you to All My Turtles.

Laurie Nyveen                                  lawrence@dsuper.net
Editor, Netsurfer Digest - <http://www.netsurf.com/nsd/index.html>
DNRC Minister of Adding "ue" to Words That End in "log"
"All we are, basically, are monkeys with car keys."
                             - Grandma Woody (Northern Exposure)