The force of friction on his feet would be twice the bite force of a large American alligator, so I don’t think his toes would take it too well. In all likelihood, Fred Flintstone’s feet after braking would look like airplane landing gear when it can’t handle the friction: If Fred decides to take his whole family out for a brontosaurus burger and a drive-in movie, the problem of feet-destroying friction only gets worse because the rockmobile would be significantly heavier. Assuming for a moment that Fred’s feet are so callused as to be indestructible, slamming his feet into the rocky road at 25 miles per hour would bring the rockmobile to a stop in about 26 feet (8 meters). As an engineer, I have no idea how a forward-moving car keeps a rear wheel on that has no backstop. The coefficient of friction—a ratio of the force friction provides and the weight pressing down on a surface—is the first thing we would have to find. The worst-case is much more likely.

So we have the weight, now we need the speed. Much like how your car’s brake pads work, Fred’s feet absorb all the frictional forces until the stones stop rolling. Images: Screenshot from Flintstones opening credits; Airplane landing gear from Airlinesafety.com. On a list of those unusable materials is certainly human skin. (Note that this is much lighter than cars today due to their metal frames, engines, and other components.) Most of the car’s mass is going to be bound up in the huge rock rollers at the front and back. I hope that the father of the “modern Stone Age family” has thick skin, or else he is going to lose his legs. If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. The rockmobile is neither a picture of aerodynamics or engineering genius, but it still has to be faster than simply running to make any sense at all as a vehicle. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. WhaaaaaaT? Much like how your car’s brake pads work, Fred’s feet absorb all the frictional forces until the stones stop rolling. Heavy loads encounter more friction, so next we have to estimate the weight of Fred’s famous rockmobile (replicas are for sale, by the way). In all likelihood, Fred Flintstone’s feet after braking would look like airplane landing gear when it can’t handle the friction: If Fred decides to take his whole family out for a brontosaurus burger and a drive-in movie, the problem of feet-destroying friction only gets worse because the rockmobile would be significantly heavier. But that’s not all pressing down on the road Fred has to stop on. 6 hours ago — Chelsea Harvey and E&E News, 6 hours ago — Matthew W. Johnson and David B. Yaden | Opinion, 10 hours ago — Jeffery DelViscio and Timothy Weaver. He manages Nature Education's Student Voices blog, is a research fellow with the James Randi Educational foundation, and you can follow him on Twitter under the name @Sci_Phile. The force of friction on his feet would be twice the bite force of a large American alligator, so I don’t think his toes would take it too well. Engineers today have developed brakes that can take huge amounts of heat and stress precisely because other materials would fail under such strenuous conditions. What is much more interesting is the way he stops his caveman car. Discover world-changing science. I hope that the father of the “modern Stone Age family” has thick skin, or else he is going to lose his legs. Let’s put aside the fact that Fred Flintstone basically runs to work and therefore doesn’t really need his wheels (or that he would need the quads of a god to get them moving). So all in all Fred must use his heels to stop an 865-kilogram (1910 pound) rockmobile. © 2020 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. The worst-case is much more likely. But that’s not all pressing down on the road Fred has to stop on. Engineers today have developed brakes that can take huge amounts of heat and stress precisely because other materials would fail under such strenuous conditions. Fred himself is a hefty fellow, maybe 95 kilograms (210 pounds). Public Figure Facebook is showing information to help you better understand the purpose of a Page. He has a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering and a master's degree in communication research (with a focus on science, health, and the environment) from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So all in all Fred must use his heels to stop an 865-kilogram (1910 pound) rockmobile. Assuming for a moment that Fred’s feet are so callused as to be indestructible, slamming his feet into the rocky road at 25 miles per hour would bring the rockmobile to a stop in about 26 feet (8 meters). I hope that the father of the “modern Stone Age family” has thick skin, or else he is going to lose his legs. Let's put aside the fact that Fred Flintstone basically runs to work and therefore doesn't really need his wheels (or that he would need the quads of a god to get them [...]. (Note that this is much lighter than cars today due to their metal frames, engines, and other components.). Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, What Mushroom Clouds Can Reveal about the Waco Explosion.

Read our privacy policy. Let’s put aside the fact that Fred Flintstone basically runs to work and therefore doesn’t really need his wheels (or that he would need the quads of a god to get them moving). Now that we have all the numbers, all we have to do is plug them in. (Note that this is much lighter than cars today due to their metal frames, engines, and other components.). Heavy loads encounter more friction, so next we have to estimate the weight of Fred’s famous rockmobile (replicas are for sale, by the way). I look down and notice that my feet could rival those of Fred Flintstone. Discover world-changing science. Kyle Hill is a science communicator who specializes in finding the secret science in your favorite fandom. What is much more interesting is the way he stops his caveman car.



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