Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Watch: What the Heck is Torque, Anyway?

By: Sebastien Bell
Jeremy Clarkson once famously said that there is no earthly way to explain torque. The thing is, though, torque is actually simple. Horsepower is the really confusing one.
But Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained is here to break it down.

As he explains, torque is just distance times force. Usefully, torque wrenches are a great example of how to measure torque. If you have a foot-long handle and you apply 5 lbs of pressure, you’re generating 5 lb-ft of torque.
See? Simple.
Power, meanwhile, is a measure of distance times force, with the added wrinkle of speed. To make matters worse, the unit we use to measure it is based off a weird and deliberately incorrect system.
Imagine that you’re noted Scottish inventor, James Watt and you need to convince miners to get rid of hungry, dangerous, and not very tasty draft horses and use your steam engine instead?
A catchy jingle? A hilarious witticism? Some sort of BOGO deal? Nope. You use this sexy little formula instead:
Watt was interested in getting more water out of a well than a horse, so he figured that one horsepower was the equivalent of being able to lift 75 kg by one meter in a second—and that’s being kind to the horses, who probably can’t maintain that pace. So it’s a measure of how much work can be done in a given amount of time.
In automotive terms, horsepower is torque times RPM. As Fenske explains, it’s the rate at which work is done, so more horsepower means more speed (as a rule).
So there you have it. The difference between horsepower and torque. Explained so simply that even a Clarkson can understand it.

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