How KERS will change Formula One in 2011 This year grand prix racing will feature the return of a controversial new technology, which in theory makes the cars more environmentally friendly. Many will no doubt report that KERS was banned in 2010 but this was not actually the case. FOTA Teams simply agreed not to use the systems, but they were still legal under the technical regulations.
Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems or KERS for short are devices used for converting some of the waste energy from the braking process into more useful types of energy which can then be used to give the cars a power boost.
It all sounds very complicated but it really isn’t, the basic physics of KERS is laid down in lessons taught to almost every secondary school child in the developed world. It is all based around the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be endlessly converted. When you drive down the road your car has kinetic energy, when you brake that kinetic energy is mostly converted into heat energy (which is why fast cars need to keep their brakes cool).
In most cars that heat energy is wasted, but in a KERS equipped car that is not the case. When the driver brakes most of the kinetic energy (or rotational force) is still converted to heat energy but a portion is treated differently and is stored up in the car. When the driver presses his boost button that stored energy is converted back into kinetic energy and under the current F1 regulations gives the car about an extra 85bhp for just under seven seconds. More at Racecar Engineering
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