For the sake of estimation, we could assume the rest of the car, made of tarp and wood, weighs and additional 50 kilograms (110 pounds).
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With heels screeching and smoking, Fred famously uses his own feet to stop his forward momentum.
I’ll give Fred the benefit of the doubt and say his top speed is 25 miles per hour. Complete your Fred or Barney costume with these male funny feet. So all in all Fred must use his heels to stop an 865-kilogram (1910 pound) rockmobile.
That’s not too bad considering his bunions are brake pads.
Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. If they were one and a half meters long and 80 centimeters in diameter—like huge stone rolling pins—they would be about 360 kilograms (~795 pounds) each. But just how much force would his feet need to apply, and what would happen to them? If Fred pressed and held his feet to the ground, he would most likely lose them. The coefficient of friction–a ratio of the force friction provides and the weight pressing down on a surface–is the first thing we would have to find. 6 hours ago — Chelsea Harvey and E&E News, 6 hours ago — Matthew W. Johnson and David B. Yaden | Opinion, 10 hours ago — Jeffery DelViscio and Timothy Weaver. But just how much force would his feet need to apply, and what would happen to them?
I doubt that The Flintstones had the paved roads of today, so a first guess at the roughness of the road Fred is braking on would be a bit higher than the values we have on highways: around 0.7-0.9.
He manages Nature Education's Student Voices blog, is a research fellow with the James Randi Educational foundation, and you can follow him on Twitter under the name @Sci_Phile. (If you want to see the full calculation for stopping distance, I did the same for Batman and the Joker sliding on the floor here.). In all likelihood, Fred Flintstone’s feet after braking would look like airplane landing gear when it can’t handle the friction: If Fred decides to take his whole family out for a brontosaurus burger and a drive-in movie, the problem of feet-destroying friction only gets worse because the rockmobile would be significantly heavier.
Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine. As an engineer, I have no idea how a forward-moving car keeps a rear wheel on that has no backstop. I doubt that The Flintstones had the paved roads of today, so a first guess at the roughness of the road Fred is braking on would be a bit higher than the values we have on highways: around 0.7-0.9. The rockmobile is neither a picture of aerodynamics or engineering genius, but it still has to be faster than simply running to make any sense at all as a vehicle.
Fred himself is a hefty fellow, maybe 95 kilograms (210 pounds).
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