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Friday, 12 July 2019 20:13

Truck Topics: Hey Buddy … Got a Millisecond?

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The identical speeds and mass cancel out each other or, better said, the two objects push back on each other with equal force. But this rarely happens. Chances are if a head-on collision is to occur with a semi-truck, it will more likely be with a car of considerably smaller mass and weight. From a pure physics point of view, this would help mitigate the damage to the truck, but could be catastrophic for the car.
  • What is the direction of impact? In other words, was it a head-on crash or a glancing blow which could have dissipated much of the crash energy?

 

What isn’t a variable is a law defined by Sir Isaac Newton – the law of inertia. It says an object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Think in terms of the payload being transported by the truck in question. When the tractor hits the brick wall, Newton’s law of an outside force taking over to stop motion takes over to stop the tractor – but his law of inertia says the load and trailer want to keep going!

 

And just think … what is going to take days or maybe weeks to repair, happened in a matter of milliseconds. How long is a millisecond? It is one-thousandth of a second – the time it takes a camera flash to go off. A housefly’s wings flap every three milliseconds. Eight milliseconds is equal to 1/125th of a second or a common camera shutter speed. Researchers at MIT determined that the human eye can interpret images exposed for as little as 13 milliseconds. Anything faster goes undetected.

 

Zero Milliseconds

 

This is the point where the front bumper first makes contact with a barrier or some other object – what you might call the “point of no return.” Using specific materials, parts and fastening protocols, engineers have designed the truck to collapse in a predictable manner to protect the truck’s occupants. This is where all that engineering pays off. And if the truck has been in a prior accident, this will tell if the repair was done in a safe and complete manner—or not.


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