National Science Teaching Association: How Do NASCAR Race Car Tires Take the Heat? (Part 2: Thermal Energy)

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 investigate how the forces acting on the tires during the race cause the tire temperature to rise dramatically during the race. Students analyze thermal images of tires captured during a race and the coefficient of friction of the tires at different temperatures to determine how friction can help a car win—or lose—a NASCAR race.


Science Topics
Force (Frictional), Heat, Physics, Sports
Middle School, Educator
6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade
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