Students experience the phenomenon of NASCAR race car tires and brake pads reaching temperatures so high that the brake pads glow red during a race!
Students’ questions about this phenomenon create the need to first investigate how the forces acting on the tires during the race cause the tires’ surfaces to physically change (wearing away of materials at lower temperatures and melting at higher temperatures). Through a short discussion aimed at building understanding, students use data (observations) from their investigation to develop ownership of the science idea of friction and use their understanding of friction to begin to explain the phenomenon presented at the start of the lesson.
- Fox thermal cam video of pit stop with tire change (clip A)
- Friction and Heat–Science of Speed (clip B, 3:58–5:18)
- Thermal Camera Images A-E
- Pink wedge eraser or other rubber eraser
- Surfaces with different textures that are suitable for rubbing the eraser
- (Optional) Thermal imaging camera or infrared surface thermometer
- Friction simulation links—simulation 1 – A microscopic model of friction and simulation 2: Friction
- Markers and paper, chart paper, or whiteboards (for students’ models)