The Parts of a Car and How They Move Us

Links and information on this page do not reflect's position - particularly in the area related to hydrogen power. We know that water has been and can be used as fuel which would be far more economically feasable than is indicated on some of the links on the page above. This page provides grist for the mill and is provided here as counter point.



For most people, little thought is given to the mechanics of a vehicle until there is a problem with how it functions. Other people put a good deal of thought into how cars and other vehicles function, particularly when they are purchasing a new one. The car's engine and how it operates can make a difference when it comes to the comfort of one's ride and in how expensive it will be to refuel it. Drivers have options when it comes to what powers their vehicles, such as electric vehicles versus gas-powered vehicles, for example. For that reason, both men and women should educate themselves about the cars that are currently on the market and how they function.

Electric Cars

Electric cars differ from gasoline-powered automobiles in that they use an electric motor rather than an internal combustion engine. The electric motor receives power from a car battery that is rechargeable. Instead of a gasoline gauge, the car's dashboard shows the car battery's charge state, which like a gasoline gauge reads whether the battery is at full charge, empty, or some state in between. Electric cars also tend to have regenerative braking, which slows the vehicle down by turning its kinetic energy into energy that can recharge the battery.

Heat Engines and Thermodynamics

To best understand heat engines and how they work, one must understand thermodynamics, particularly the second law of thermodynamics. In thermodynamics, there are three laws. The second law of thermodynamics directly applies to heat engines. In the second law of thermodynamics, heat will naturally flow from an area of higher temperature to an area that has a lower temperature, but it will not naturally flow the other way. With a heat or thermal engine, a heat source is used to produce energy that results in mechanical work or action. It does this through a process in which heat from one section is moved to a cooler section.

Gasoline-Powered Vehicles

Cars that run on gasoline use internal combustion engines for propulsion. These engines have a large number of parts that work together to put a vehicle into motion. The primary parts are the cylinder, where gasoline and air are mixed, the piston that compresses the mixture, the spark plug, which ignites it, and the crank shaft, which resets the cycle. The engine itself is serviced by a series of hoses and pipes that cool the engine and provide fuel into the system, among other things. A fuel gauge informs the driver as to how much gasoline the car has left. Gasoline-powered vehicles rely entirely on traditional brakes, which use friction to slow down the car.

Vehicles and Motion

It is important for drivers to understand the relationship between cars and the laws of motion. Newton's first law of motion says that an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted on by an unbalanced force. When it comes to driving, this means that in the event of a collision, a car may be brought to a halt by the impact, but a passenger not using restraints will continue forward, perhaps flying through the windshield in the process. The second law of motion states that force equals mass times acceleration. For drivers, this means that heavier vehicles will require more force to move them forward at a desired speed and that stopping the vehicle will require more opposing force than lighter automobiles. The third law of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For cars, this pertains mostly to tires and how they interact with the road. If the roads are too slick, tires cannot push effectively against the road and the car will either skid when trying to stop or turn or not be able to cause motion at all.

Additional Learning Materials


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