J N asked in Science & MathematicsEngineering · 1 decade ago

What affects a cars top speed?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Power vs. Resistance. Power is supplied by the engine. Resistance is produced by both friction and aerodynamics. Another component often overlooked is gravity. Unless the road is level, gravity will also produce resistance.

    Among frictional resistance we have the road & tires, all bearings, transmission fluid being pumped and gears meshing. Depending on the vehicle you may have constant velocity joints also adding resistance. This also assumes the power of the engine already subtracts the losses needed to run the engine and car. Like power steering pump. alternator, AC compressor etc.

    The weight of the vehicle only plays a part in the acceleration. Once the top speed is reached it no longer plays a part, thus sustaining the top speed requires less energy than reaching it. Consequently, accelerating down hill may provide a higher sustainable top speed that otherwise could not be reached on flat level track.

    The largest prohibitor to high speed is probably wind resistance aka drag. There are different types of drag associated with aerodynamics. Someday we may have magnetic bubbles that knife through the air and provide a smooth wrap around to reduce drag.

  • 1 decade ago

    Friction, friction, friction! The friction of the car against the air and the road is the first part. The friction of the internal components is the second part. And the power available from the engine to overcome these is the third part. Cars have broken the sound barrier at 728 miles per hour but it takes a jet engine producing twenty thousand pounds of thrust to do it. And at that speed the car could only travel in a strait line and required a couple of miles to stop.

  • 4 years ago

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Forward thrust - Drag.

    Better traction, greater engine power will increase thrust, being more aerodynamical will reduce drag.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    bhp the engine produces, then the car shaping(aerodynamic or not),

    car weight

  • 1 decade ago

    Static highway cameras??

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