Saturday, August 29, 2009

It works! It really works!

The wing is mounted and we all took the car out for a spin around the block.

We mounted the wing so that it would pivot around the front. In the back it is supported by a gas spring like those used on a rear hatch to help lift. We used a gas spring because they have an interesting property: once their initial force is overcome, the force does not increase. Thus the gas spring almost acts like a resettable fuse, limiting the amount of downforce.

Why would we want to limit downforce? To reduce drag. Both forces, downforce and drag, increase with the square of speed. It's worthwhile to have downforce and drag at slow speeds, when we're in a turn. When we're in a straight we don't need downforce, and by letting the wing change it's angle we can limit the drag.

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