This is a typical introduction to a real-world problem. Unlike word problems you may remember from maths class in school, the problem is ill-defined, no numbers are included, and much more detail is needed before the 'simple equations' can be identified.

On the slow down from the high speed runs it is important that the staging of the parachutes and wheel brakes ensure that the car is brought to a halt by the end of the 10 mile track.

Andy is keen to have markers around the Speedo which gives him guidance of when to deploy the parachutes, Chute 1 then Chute 2. These pointers need to be dynamic and automatically adjust should the previous one be late or less efficient than expected.

The basic mathematics is based around a simple Drag/Mass equals Acceleration model with the Airbrakes and Chutes having an assumed Drag Coefficient.

What I need is some simple equations to put into the Simulink Code to work out the required speed at which the next deployment is required.

If you feel you have some time to help I would like to talk through the information that is required to complete this model.

However, what the email does convey is:

- It is a problem worth solving
- The customer for the solution is defined: Andy Green the pilot/driver
- A qualitative description of what is needed: simple equations and dynamic speed markers
- Pointers to the mathematics/physics that will be needed: aerodynamics and Newton's 2nd law of motion
- The software for implementing the equations will be Simulink
- John is starting the problem-solving process by figuring out who can help him solve it

How would you respond to the email? What questions would you ask? Suggestions in the comments below....

A great example of a typically vague real world task! :o)

ReplyDeleteQ1. How much KE (Kinetic Energy) will the car have when the chutes are deployed?

Q2. How big are the parachutes?