We use vehicles almost every day of our lives, and yet so few of us understand how they work. This is something that is happening a lot in society across a range of things. This article hopes to enlighten you on how these three types of transport actually get your from A to B.
How planes achieve flight is actually quite a complicated question. There is a reason why aviation is studied at Universities around the world. However, what it comes down to is lift, drag, mass and propulsion. These are the four forces of flight and key in understanding how a plane is able to soar through the air. Lift allows the plane to take off. Drag is about how the plane is able to maneuver in mid-air. Mass needs to be as low as possible to ensure the plane can sustain flight and take off in the first place. Finally, propulsion is how the plane moves forward and how it is pushed into the air. It takes all of these elements carefully balance to achieve flight. For more detailed information on how each of these work there is an article on Jet Engines and How Airplanes Fly that you can read.
The second type of vehicle on this list, trains, are perhaps one of the oldest. The steam engine was first used in 1804 to pull heavy weights and proved that it could be done. Since then it has become on the most heavily used types of transport in the world carrying both people and products to their various destinations. Modern trains operate along rails like their predecessors but instead of being steam powered they generally use diesel to propel themselves forward. Using an engine that burns the diesel and uses it to move the wheels, a train can travel at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. However, most trains take almost a mile to slow down meaning that they cannot travel fast over short distances.
Automobiles, or cars, buses and other four-wheel vehicles are the most populous type of transport on the planet. A lot of people use a car to get to work every day and have no idea how it actually works. There are a lot of different elements that come together to make a car work, from the display in front of the driver, to how the windscreen wipers work. However, we are just going to focus on how the engine works and how the car performs its most basic functions. The engine converts heat generated by burning petrol into energy. This happens through a chain of reactions and internal combustion. Engines also have different cylinders, and that is how you increase speed and gear number in your car. The higher the gear number, the more pistons are working, the more fuel you are using and the faster your car can go. There are a variety of different engine types within that, and each works slightly differently, but as a basis that is how it works. The engine powers the axle that moves your car’s wheels and that in turn moves you forward.