During the design process for new road vehicles the final phase of the design involves the deliberate crashing of the vehicle under strictly controlled conditions.  Theses crashes provide information from which vehicle safety can be improved.  The underlying scientific theory is based on Newton’s three laws of motion and these will be described and demonstrated in the workshop.


In this workshop we shall see such films and students will observe some of the most common safety features.  In the first instance a model cardboard car will be crashed and the students will assess the damaged vehicle and suggest suitable safety improvements.  Then, in groups of three or four, they will then build their own model cardboard cars from a template, incorporating their own safety ideas. These models will then be crashed and the students will be able to see how well their own designs have fared.


Students will be engaged throughout the workshop.  In particular they will design their own safety features and they will build their own vehicle. All the time they will be involved in interactive discussion of their designs.



PRIMARY: qualitative ideas to explain car safety features; seat belts, air bags and crumple zones.


SECONDARY: plus Newton’s lases of motion, quantitative description of car safety features, seat belts, air bags, crumple zones.


SIXTH FORM: plus stress/strain laws and buckling of simple structures.


Copyright Maths Discovery 2015