der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 15

Proof that the BMW engineers did their job.

Why My Family And I Will Always Drive BMWs
By James Chew

D

uring my sophomore year in
high school, my English
teacher assigned us a task
dreaded by any student - select a
poem from the textbook, memorize
it, recite it in front of the class, and
be prepared to provide an interpretation. To this day, I remember my
anxiety as I walked that long journey
to the front of the classroom.
The poem I selected was "Auto
Wreck" by Karl Shapiro. Published
in 1942, it was Mr. Shapiro's commentary on the dark side of America
entering the age of personal mobility.
The line I most remember was
"Cancels our physics with a sneer".
Films like "Red Asphalt", showed to
my high school drivers' education
class, illustrated the deadly consequences of auto crashes, making
that point clear. The irony was that
machines made so strongly and
sturdily would be deadly to their
occupants in a collision.

May I June

Fast-forward about 42 years
later - I'm part of the I-95 morning
commute to Washington, D.C.,
driving my 2012 135i convertible.
As is common, for no apparent
reason, traffic suddenly stops.
My vehicle, as well as the ones in
front of and behind mine safely
come to a stop, leaving plenty of
room between us. As we patiently
wait for our commute to resume,
the most dangerous scenario
occurs: a vehicle that was well
behind us, traveling at high speed,
hits the vehicle behind me, pushing
my vehicle into the one in front of
me. Within milliseconds, for the
drivers and passengers in four
vehicles - all thinking it would be a
typical beginning of the workweek -
the world changed.
Reviewing the photos of my
now-totaled 135i; it seems to be a
miracle that my passenger and I
were the only ones who did not

require immediate medical attention. Relatively speaking, we were
unscathed (we didn't even experience the "next-day soreness" that is
associated with vehicle collisions).
The others involved were not so
lucky. I suspect that this was
because we were the only ones in
a BMW.
In the early 1990s, I visited the
BMW vehicle development center.
During that visit, I spent a fair
amount of time with the structural
engineering group. Our time spent
together was chicken soup for
my mechanical engineering soul.
One of the most interesting topics
we discussed was occupant safety.
The objective for the BMW
engineers was to design a structure
that would isolate the occupants
from the impact loads, while maintaining the stiffness required for a
quality assembly and "Ultimate
Driving Machine" vehicle dynamics,

while still having enough compliance to yield the benchmark BMW
ride quality.
The physics of collision is that
of momentum transfer. When one
object hits another, it transfers its
energy into that other object.
Vehicle structural engineers use that
fundamental understanding of
collision physics to design vehicles
that isolate the occupant from the
collision impact loads.
The second law of thermodynamics tells us that there is no such
thing as a "perfect" collision, i.e.,
not all of the energy from object 1
will be transferred to object 2 (that's
the reason why we don't have
perpetual motion machines).
In practical terms, some of that
energy from object 1 will be lost to
sound and heat. The structural
engineers use these principles in
their design.
The physics to which Mr.

15



der Bayerische May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of der Bayerische May/June 2020

No label
Intro page
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
THE STEERING COLUMN
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
COMING EVENTS
January 2020 DIY at Bimmer Works
NCC's 2020 Annual Meeting and Banquet
Matt Curry's Craftsman Auto Care Sponsor Spotlight
Why My Family and I Will Always Drive BMWs
Life with the 2020 G29 Z4 M40i
A BMW Performance Center Delivery Story
Window Tint Can Protect Your Health
The Difference Between Wants and Needs
The Habits of Highly Effective Autocrossers: Interview-Jeff Noyes
NEW MEMBERS LIST
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - Intro page
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - Cover1
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - Cover2
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 1
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - THE STEERING COLUMN
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - COMING EVENTS
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - January 2020 DIY at Bimmer Works
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 7
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - NCC's 2020 Annual Meeting and Banquet
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 9
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 10
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 11
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - Matt Curry's Craftsman Auto Care Sponsor Spotlight
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 13
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 14
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - Life with the 2020 G29 Z4 M40i
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 16
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 17
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 18
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 19
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 20
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - A BMW Performance Center Delivery Story
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 22
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 23
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 24
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - Window Tint Can Protect Your Health
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 26
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 27
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - The Difference Between Wants and Needs
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 29
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 30
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - The Habits of Highly Effective Autocrossers: Interview-Jeff Noyes
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 32
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 33
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 34
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - NEW MEMBERS LIST
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - 36
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - Cover3
der Bayerische May/June 2020 - Cover4
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