Car accidents occur every day, but many people don’t understand the amount of energy a car creates and how that leads to disastrous consequences in a crash. This video breaks down the physics of a car accident.
One liter of gasoline provides more energy than a kilogram of dynamite. This energy is burned to give your car motion. Only 20% of the gasoline is actually changed to kinetic energy (joules), but it’s still a lot of energy being produced. The small amount of fuel needed to get a car up to 60kph produces the same energy as dropping an elephant from a three-story building.
To stop the car, all of the energy needs somewhere to go. If the car uses the breaks to stop, the energy is transferred into heat in the breaks. If there is a collision, however, the energy crumples the metal and other materials that make up the car.
Car frames are designed to crumple as slowly as possible to dissipate the force, but the concussive force generated is harmful to soft human organs, like the brain. The specially designed frame gives a high but constant rate of deceleration that mitigates most of the damage.
For more information, check out the video in the link above.