Why doesn't Bloodhound have tyres?

Primary school investigate why cars normally have tyres - even though Bloodhound SSC does not. They visit a race track to find out about grip and traction, and ride bikes to find out about comfort.

The young Bloodhound Investigators realise that the Bloodhound SSC doesn't have tyres - and set out to discover what effect tyres usually have on cars. At a race track, they learn how tyres are useful for turning corners, giving grip and traction, and watch race cars skidding their tyres by spinning their wheels very fast. They find that riding a bicycle without tyres is both bumpy and hard to control. Bloodhound SSC has narrow aluminium wheels without tyres, as these would explode at high speeds. At an ice rink they discover that thin tyres mean less friction with the ground, helping Bloodhound SSC to go faster. They realise that Wing Commander Andy Green will be in for a very bumpy ride as Bloodhound will not have tyres.

Teacher Notes

This could be used to provide further examples of friction in everyday life. Pupils could carry out a class investigation to introduce the phenomenon of friction, by testing the hypothesis that objects will require more force if pulled along a rough surface. This could be carried out using a plastic tub, a weight, a forcemeter and a variety of surfaces to pull the tub along. Fair testing principles should be adhered to, predictions could be made and conclusions drawn. Once friction has been explained via this experiment, pupils could provide examples where friction is useful in everyday life: tyres, brakes on bike wheels, grips on shoes. The clip provides a question for the pupils to think about. Why does the Bloodhound not have tyres? This is an effective way of assessing pupils' knowledge about the usefulness of friction. The clip then details frictional forces in action in everyday situations.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Science or Design and Technology at Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Level 2 in Scotland.