Naked Science Forum

General Science => General Science => Topic started by: Jim Duncan on 02/03/2010 10:30:02

Title: What affects the speed of a group of snow tubes?
Post by: Jim Duncan on 02/03/2010 10:30:02
Jim Duncan  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi,
My name is Jim Duncan and I'm from Richfield, Oho.  I've thought of many questions to ask you in the past but this is the first I've sent in.

Recently, I went with a group of friends on an adventure known as snow tubing.  

Snow tubing consists of sitting in a large tyre inner-tube and hurtling at great speeds down a snow-covered hill.  

We were allowed to connect our tubes and go down the hill in a large group.  

My question is,  would we travel faster (and further) as a group or as individuals?  Also, would it make a difference if we put adults in front and lighter kids at the back (or some other arrangement)?  

I've tried to take into consideration surface area and "pressure melting" but it's beyond me.

I am totally addicted to your show (http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/) and think that your whole crew is awesome!
 
Thanks!

Jim Duncan

What do you think?
Title: What affects the speed of a group of snow tubes?
Post by: RD on 02/03/2010 10:58:58
Air resistance is a big factor, (it's proportional to the square of the velocity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_resistance#Drag_at_high_velocity)), hence the posture and Lycra suit ...

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeleton_bob
Title: What affects the speed of a group of snow tubes?
Post by: Karsten on 03/03/2010 21:43:29
I believe that if it this situation is similar to riding a tandem bike, you would go faster and further in a group as long as you are going down the hill following each other rather than in a big bunch or as a line across the hill. Rolling tandems are faster than single riders.