Saturday, April 25, 2015
25-00 The Roll of a Rectangle
This began in the forties with the renowned Jeep. I worked as an information specialist in the Army Materiel Command in the late '60's and there were many items in the equipment inventory that were right up there in the public eye. One was the loss of life to rolling light utility vehicles known as "Jeeps", circa 1968. And by "rolling", I mean the operator would make sharp turns at speed and literally roll the vehicle. It was one of my busiest topics. Right up there with nerve gas and disposal of nuclear waste.
The modern vehicle also called "Jeep" seems to have corrected that problem, though the original army model never was intended to be, back then, driven quickly round tight corners. But other contemporary vehicles using the chassis of a pickup truck to comprise the support of a modern sports utility vehicle have neglected the fact that they can be driven in excess of sixty miles per hour and all it takes is a quick swerve and the structure will encounter a phenomenon of geometrical physics which I call: "the roll of a rectangle".
The forward momentum of a rectangular volume will render the longest aspect of it shape into a square wheel if a veer from its vector introduces enough forward momentum to its side.
The advantage of the jeeps, circa mid-sixties, was its narrow wheelbase. That assured the vehicle passage in narrow places often encountered by off-road terrain, or even getting around congested convoys of larger vehicles on paved or unpaved roadways. However, the operator had to know and be trained how to turn at 90 degrees with that vehicle. A right angle turn with narrow wheelbases must be attempted only after a deceleration to less than 15 mph.
The mistake was when the bottom-liners, who flood the high-velocity highway with huge vehicles with off-road type wheelbases, got in on the game. It looks like the money isn't in how good your product is but how good your lawyers are. At least that's how those guys play their game. You can still get around, don't get me wrong. Just don't go driving your hustle mobile as if it were a reliable piece of machinery and you'll be okay. Ralph is getting too old to help you anymore.
North and South America is the land of the banana republic. It's just in the north, they managed to ban nanna and make it appear to be more legalistic. The banana of the United States and it's up-front acceding presidentees was the automobile.
By the time the Japanese got around to making an honest car, the Americans had already been there as the firstus with the mostest and, damn, they can still sell those you-know-whatties, even if that one you or someone you know bought for two-fifty a month might be a Canadian make with parts brought in from everywhere on the globe that could be outsourced. Pretty soon they'll have you assembling them yourself just like you have to do when you're too poor to have the Microsoft certified techie at the shop down the road upgrade your computer for you.
Ignorance is expensive and that's something we all have. Drove my anything-but-Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry. Them good old boys was drinking Orang Tua and Cointreau sayin' this'll be the day that I diet. Yeah, I was at Aldermont the day the music died, but I saw the comet in the sky and got the heck outa there before jumpin' jack ever got onstage.
It reminds me of ancient Rome: Always emulating the Greeks. No originality. Back in the fifties, New Rome, the USA, with their motor city were making the impression that the automobile was as American as apple pie. They had cars in Europe before Ford ever went to work for Edison or even left the farm. There was gasoline in Poland long before there was a rich Rockefeller. But you see, that's the trouble with the imitators: They can only perfect they cannot innovate.
It's an indictment against the design capability of the big boys. You see, with those guys, they'll do anything to turn a profit. Well, am I wrong? How come they got away with it for so long? Oh, maybe you think it was an honest mistake. Whatever. I had to ride in one of those bounce busses once and I told jokes 'cause I knew I was taking my laugh in my hands.
Here is a probable approach to the geometry dilemma. Abandon the rectangle to compensate for the veer factor. The ideal is the U, but the practical is the spreading of a Y shape with a fork facing forward velocity. But, of course, just remember, that's in concept only. I can't afford to test it for free. You've got to perfect the design before you go and build one, let alone try to manufacture it. The first one to make a safe SUV. gets rich enough to buy General Motors and Ford.
Notice I said rich enough. Not smart enough. They'd probably try to buy Mercedes instead. Number two would probably be smart enough to not waste their time.
Copyright (c) 2005 by Paul A. L. Hall. All rights reserved.Mercedes instead. Number two would probably be smart enough to not waste their time.
Copyright (c) 2005 by Paul A. L. Hall. All rights reserved.