The Physics of the
Pinewood Derby Book

The Virtual Racing CD


Select Individual Items
Axle Polish Compound
Book Content

The scope of the book is apparent from the pdf-formatted page showing the Table of Contents. As a specific example of book content we have also an example of a theoretical page from the book. The main equation on this page is an equation that will give the coasting distance time for any vehicle that enters a horizontal run at a known velocity. The equation looks complicated but a TI-83 type hand calculator of the type used by high school students will handle this equation. The constants in the equation depend on the car parameters such as coefficient of wheel-axle friction, air drag coefficient, wheel moment of inertia, center of mass position, etc. The book explains in some detail just how to measure these parameters. Actually, all the theoretical gravity-driven equations of motion as solved in this book are used in a Windows-friendly program on a CD called Gravity-Driven Virtual Racing. Leave this book lying around so your young partner can "accidentally" see equations like this while he (or she) looks at other ‘practical" pages like car designs.The equation may frighten an adult, but it won't frighten the youngsters.

There is also an item that gives a pdf example of a "practical" page. This page shows one of the many car body designs. This particular design, which uses a tungsten-loaded molded lead rear end, was used by the author's Cub Scout nephew of the LA Western Region Council to win the 2005 National Pinewood Derby race held in Irving, TX on May 25, 2005. Over 300 Councils throughout the USA were represented at the National Event in Irving. A copy of the book was donated to the Scout museum in Irving and is on display there. The winning car is also on display. Click here for a photo of this high performance car.


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