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Can anybody tell me - in plain english please - what torque is.

(23 Posts)
mawbroon Mon 03-Aug-09 21:23:37

DH was telling me all about the torque on the car we have just bought.

I made the mistake of saying that I didn't really understand what torque was, and could he explain it.

He started telling me, and I just didn't understand. I could hear the words he was using, but just could not understand what he was saying to me.

I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, and did higher maths and physics at school (admittedly 100 years ago) and I don't understand why I don't understand IYSWIM.

DH got a bit exasperated at why I couldn't understand and in my irrational, pregnant, hormonal state, I burst into tears because I couldn't understand. blush

So, I still don't know WTF torque is. Can you enlighten me?

Katisha Mon 03-Aug-09 21:25:00

Nope. Have had it "explained" to me at length as well.

MmeLindt Mon 03-Aug-09 21:26:27

<lurks> from behind DH's car magazines.

While you are at it, could you explain the whole "8 liter engine" bit. DH wittered on about 8 bottles of coke but I just did not get it.

Doodle2u Mon 03-Aug-09 21:27:19

Ya know when you use a spanner to turn at nut? Well torque is the amount of pressure you need to turn the spanner and depends on how long the spanner is!

When used re: cars - it means you're getting a bluey purply coloured one grin

mawbroon Mon 03-Aug-09 21:36:41

Ah, I know the cylinder one. The total capacity of the cylinders is the figure that they use. So you might have a 2L or 1.6L or whatever size.

Dunno if you get an 8L one though! No doubt there will be some nutter engine somewhere......

Ponders Mon 03-Aug-09 21:37:02

ohhh - we had a conversation recently about wind turbines in which DH used the word torque - something to do with a heavy vane generating more power than a light vane???

Does this help?

(Thought not! It didn't for me either grin)

westcoastdad Mon 03-Aug-09 21:39:52

The easy way to think of torque is as pulling power.

It would be like the difference between the pull of 1 shire horse versus 6 shetland ponies!

6 shetlands may be more powerful together, but the shire horse can pull more.

So shire horses are torquey Lol, does that help

mawbroon Mon 03-Aug-09 21:45:48

Ponders - re the wind turbine thing. DH has just said that turbines need speed, rather than torque.

But those things you see in films that work water pumps with loads of sails on them have lots of torque which is used to work the pump. The more sails, the more torque, I think he said.

westcoastdad - i did grasp from our conversation that it is always to do with turning, so isn't your shire horse going to be very dizzy!!!!

I still don't really get it though..

Katisha Mon 03-Aug-09 21:46:54

Why are the shire horses in Torquay?

stealthsquiggle Mon 03-Aug-09 21:49:50

It's turny power. Horsepower is pully power.

lots of attempted explanations

Ponders Mon 03-Aug-09 21:51:19

A lightweight vane would go round faster, but would generate less electricity because there would be less friction?

(Maybe torque wasn't the right word then - DH isn't the most techie person in the world either grin)

lucasnorth Mon 03-Aug-09 21:54:18

Torque measures how hard something is twisting/being twisted.
In the case of a car the more torque (i.e. the more 'twisting force') the faster it can accelerate. (Assuming that everything else e.g. tyres/road surface is equal).

Does that make sense?

mawbroon Mon 03-Aug-09 21:58:13

I have just had a look at this and might have had a breakthrough

I think this will be DH's department when DS starts asking questions!!!

stealthsquiggle Mon 03-Aug-09 22:02:31

PMSL. When I started driving lessons, the instructor said very patronisingly "Do you know how a clutch works?" - so I told him. I was an engineering undergraduate at the time - I don't think it was quite the answer he was expecting grin

Ripeberry Mon 03-Aug-09 22:02:58

Torque is pulling power and to me it meant would my car stall if i tried to pull off on a hill in 3rd gear?
One car i had was puny and really useless at hill-starts (small engine, low torque) Another was very good at pulling off in high gears and had a bigger engine.
That's what torque means to me grin

stealthsquiggle Mon 03-Aug-09 22:03:46

no no no no. Torque is turny power, not pully power...

mawbroon Mon 03-Aug-09 22:04:41

OK, now dh has explained why diesel engines have more torque than an equivelant petrol.

And I understood.


mawbroon Mon 03-Aug-09 22:05:26

Yes, stealth. With my new found knowledge, I agree that it is turning power. gringrin

ClaireDeLoon Mon 03-Aug-09 22:06:27

I think in a car it's all about acceleration - my everyday car is very torquey. Apparently.

mawbroon Mon 03-Aug-09 22:13:01

OK. Here is my summary. All my own work!!

Torque is force (applied around a pivot point) x distance from the force to the point.

In a car, this refers to the force on the piston (created by the combustion of the fuel) multiplied by the distance to the centre of the crankshaft.

Halleluja. I can go to bed now.

MmeLindt Mon 03-Aug-09 22:13:34

oooh, MawBrown, that is a great website. I actually understood that.

And they explain the liter thing too. Thanks.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Mon 03-Aug-09 22:14:17

I thought it was rotational force? So the ability to carry weight along faster, in essence?

Car with more torque is able to move its engine (and ergo wheels) faster for the same weight...

Or barking up wrong tree here?

mawbroon Mon 03-Aug-09 22:20:56

it's not the force though. You have to multiply the force by the distance from the pivot point.

MmeLindt - yes, I have looked at it before for stuff. it's for kids, so just right for my level smile

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