Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Driving with Taps

One day, while driving along the Washington Beltway (at non-rush-hour so we were traveling at normal highway speed), my wife and I heard a tapping from the front end of my car, somewhere under the hood. It sounded like "click-click-click-click" -- pretty fast -- about two clicks per second. My wife said, "You probably ought to have that taken in and looked at." I said, "No, it's probably just a stone caught in a tire." She said, "Not at this speed. It's ticking too slowly."

Who is right? Do a quantitative estimation to decide so we don't have to call the Car Talk Guys.

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Page last modified October 23, 2007: G01