Moment of Inertia

An experiment about the car's moment of inertia.

The moment of inertia is also an often-overlooked feature of a pinewood derby car. We conduct a series of experiments to investigate the effects of moment of inertia on speed. These experiments suggest a dramatic departure from the typical car design is necessary to optimize speed. We show a simple experiment that you can do at home to illustrate how the Moment of Inertia affects a car’s run time.
A slide about calculating the moment of inertia.
Cutting the car body to minimize the moment of inertia.
Plots showing how the moment of inertia affects run times.