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Power and Maximum Speed

``Power'' is a measure of the rate of doing work. ``Work'' is the product of a force and the distance through which the force moves (Tipler, p. 135). Combining these shows that the force that is accelerating our race car is:

 

For a given amount of power, the faster we're moving, the less acceleration is produced. The maximum speed of a car is usually determined by its (maximum) power. For instance, when accelerating up hill, the car stops accelerating when the force produced at the wheels matches the component of the car's weight acting down the hill.



Richard Bower
Thursday October 8 16:09:30 BST 1998