CRASH TEST Science! (Hacking Physics To Save Lives)

From It’s OK to be Smart.

Crashing a car is usually not a good idea. But sometimes, it can save lives.
↓↓↓ More info and sources below ↓↓↓

No one ever wants to get in a car crash. But if you ever do, be very thankful for the engineers who crash test cars. You may have seen crash test simulations on TikTok using physics engines like BeamNG but I promise you they are nothing compared to the real thing! Join us for this DEEP dive into the physics of car crashes and the ways that engineers hack Newton’s laws to keep you safe.

Filmed on location at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
IIHS on YouTube:
IIHS resources for teachers:

Crash test sensor car by PocketLab:


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0:00 Intro – Deep dive into crash testing
1:37 Welcome to crash test HQ
2:25 She crashes cars for a living
3:42 A visit with Isaac Newton
5:41 Why Newton’s 2nd law rules all
11:21 New problems, new crash tests
14:37 Very finely-tuned violence
17:58 How engineers prepare a crash test (lots of duct tape)
20:42 Who you callin’ dummy, dummy?
25:02 Car go BOOM (and the aftermath)
31:00 In the future, will cars be smart enough not to crash?
36:24 Conclusion and extras


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