The Effects of Center of Mass Placement on the Turning Radius on Front and Rear Wheel Steering Cars

We explored the effects of various factors on the turning radius of a car. Our main objective was to see how the placement of the center of mass of the vehicle affected the radius of curvature. We then wanted to see if the effect was greater in front or rear wheel steering cars. We went about this by constructing a vehicle with locked axles and a remote controlled drive mechanism. The center of mass of the car was changed by moving a mass on the top of the car from the center of the vehicle to the drive mechanism. Also, the drive mechanism worked in two directions in order to create front and rear wheel steering. We then allowed the vehicles to travel in a complete circle and measured the radius of the circle to collect our data. The results showed that as center of mass was moved further from the center of the vehicle, the turning radius got significantly larger and the effect was greater for the front wheel steering car. The increased turning radius was due to the loss of traction of the turned wheels, which did not allow them to effectively force the car into a turn.

Research Done By:

Jordan Catrine
Warren Woods Tower

Marty Tam
Sterling Heights