Automobile or Related Car Terms

(scientific terms about the use of vehicles including cars, trucks, or any automobiles including their technology as related to transportation)

acceleration
1. A change in velocity which happens when something speeds up, slows down, or moves in a different direction.
2. The rate of change in velocity with respect to time.
accelerator
1. A pedal or lever designed to control the speed of an engine by actuating the carburetor throttle valve or fuel-injection control.
2. The gas pedal, attached to the throttle in the carburetor or fuel-injection system.
accelerometers
Acceleration is measured by a device called an accelerometer, the basic component of which is usually a heavy mass that moves only in one dimension and is supported by springs.

The simplest accelerometer consists of just one weight and has a sliding electrical contact attached to it. As acceleration increases, the weight slips back and a higher voltage is generated; then, as acceleration decreases, the weight moves forward and a lower voltage is generated.

additive
A fluid added to gas or oil to improve automobile performance.
aerodynamics
1. The science of designing smoothly shaped cars and other vehicles so they travel faster and waste less energy as when moving along designated travel surfaces.
2. The scientific study of the effects of air in motion on an object; either objects moving through air; such as, aircraft or automobiles, or stationary object affected by moving air, including bridges or tall buildings.
afterburner
An exhaust manifold that burns off carbon monoxide and fuel in the exhaust system to produce extra power.
airbags, airbag
1. Bags located in a steering wheel, dashboard, and/or side doors that automatically inflate to protect passengers from injury in an accident.
2. Devices which are parts of the passive safety system.

Airbags make it possible for passengers to stop more slowly than the car. When the airbag sensor detects a large decelaration, or a sudden stop, the bags inflate in less than a twentieth of a second, giving a much softer impact than the steering wheel would have on the driver.

An airbag will also help a passenger from being thrust forward with as much force as he/she would be without the airbag and so being thrown more slowly means less force and less harm to the person who is involved.

airflow
1. The pattern of air movements around a moving vehicle with such airflow being invisible, unless it is studied under special conditions in a wind tunnel.
2. A rate of movement for air, computed by volume or mass for a certain time unit.
airfoil
A body, part, or surface designed to provide a useful reaction on itself; such as, lift or thrust, during motion through the air.
alloy
1. A mixture of a metal with smaller quantities of other metals, or even nonmetals, to make it harder, to survive high temperatures, or to improve it in other ways.

Alloy wheels on vehicles use strong, lightweight alloys, that are based on aluminum.

2. Any of various materials having metallic properties and composed of two or more closely mixed chemical elements, of which at least one is a metal; for example, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

Alloys are produced to obtain some desirable quality; such as, greater hardness, strength, lightness, or durability.

antiknock
Any of various compounds that are added to gasoline to reduce engine knocking.

Tetraethyl lead was the most widely used antiknock compound, but because of its contribution to air pollution, it has been replaced by a nonmetallic compound in lead-free gasolines.

antilock brake system, ABS
An electronic control system that applies a car's brakes in short bursts to prevent skidding.
automobile (s), automobiles (pl)
Any self-guided, motorized passenger vehicle, or vehicles, used for land transport; usually, with four wheels and an internal combustion engine; a category typically including passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles, minivans, and light trucks.
axle
A sturdy metal rod on which the wheels of a car rotate.
battery
1. A device that generates electric power through chemical reactions.
2. A direct-current voltage source consisting of two o more electrochemical cells connected in a series or parallels to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.

A battery cell contains a negative electrode, a positive electrode, an electrolyte held between the electrodes, and a container or housing.

In contrast to the alternating current available in homes, businesses, cities, etc. from the electric utility companies, batteries deliver a direct current that always flows in one direction.

Colloquially, the term battery is often used in place of the more proper term cell. The common 1.5 volt flashlight batter is actually a single cell.

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