Design for Safety activity C2. Paper cones are used to model how well-designed vehicles absorb some of the energy from crashes.
This activity explores how we can apply what we know about vehicles and sudden impacts to reduce the potential harm to passengers.
Students use a template to make a cone shape. They carry out multiple tests dropping the cone, then measuring the amount of deformation of the cone.
Trialing multiple heights and weights shows patterns about the relationship between speed and weight on impact. You could prepare the classroom for this by marking a 1m, 1.5m and 2.0m height mark around the walls for groups to use as a release point.
Why use paper cones?
Paper cones in this activity represent crumple zones, which are a safety feature of all modern vehicles. Crumple zones are designed to control sudden deceleration to the front and rear of a vehicle leaving the occupant compartment to decelerate more slowly.
Find out more:
Safety features: structure (Rightcar)(external link)
Discuss the investigation design with students.
Through class discussion, encourage the students to see patterns in the results of their investigations.
Are they able to identify and describe the pattern or relationship between weight and impact?
Investigating in Science – exploring, predicting, defining, analysing.
Physical World, Achievement Objective: explore, describe and represent patterns and trends for everyday examples of physical phenomena, such as movement, forces etc.
Crumple zones can slow down how quickly an object loses movement energy.
Some of the energy of impact can be absorbed by good design.
The students can…