Transformers and Weight

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Ops_was_a_truck, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    As I was walking out to my car yesterday evening, I started thinking about the cars parked in the garage. If Transformers mimic other vehicles with such accuracy, does that include weight as well?

    Now, as a precursor, it's all science fiction and cartoons, so there's really not much plausibility to any of this. Still...

    * In the G1 cartoons, the Autobots seemed to have no problems with weight, whether in robot or in vehicle mode. If they were walking on concrete or driving on asphalt, they, apparently, didn't have enough weight to cause cracks or anything in the concrete. Since that's G1, that's pretty forgivable.

    * In the movies, it looks like the robots are capable of staying pretty dextrous, both on their feet and in vehicle form.

    However...here's what I was thinking about. Let's say you stand a car on its head. The distribution of weight for the car has now shifted from equally being distributed through four tires equipped with shock absorbers TO one bumper (or however you get the thing to stand up.) Because all of this downward gravity force is now centered in one location, both the car AND the ground have to give a little to compensate. Where concrete could easily facilitate a car on four wheels, I'd assume it would crunch a little under the weight of a car standing on end.

    Similar argument with a human being - if a person lies on a mattress, their weight is evenly distributed across the mattress. If a person stands on a mattress, though, there's a much deeper depression where the person's feet are.

    SO...if Transformers - in the movie universe, in G1, whatever - transform from vehicle to robot mode and walk around, wouldn't their switched form cause larger depressions in the ground? Wouldn't they crack concrete and damage asphalt if they were standing/walking around in robot mode?
     
  2. Phy

    Phy I want... ROOM SERVICE!!

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    All depends on the design of their feet. It's entirely possible that their great big feet would have a larger contact area than their tires, albeit concentrated into a smaller overall space. Compare to a car with all its tires moved to the middle, under the seats. Of course, if there's not shock absorption built into their legs and they're stomping around like two year olds, they're going to be hard on the asphalt anyway. Smart design would be to rubberise the bottoms of their feet, and build in some form of shock absorption - much like the human leg.
     
  3. Chaos Muffin

    Chaos Muffin Misadventure Veteran

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    Seems like the ground should concave under them more whe they stand, but I guess you gotta love sci fi physics
     
  4. shade 0066

    shade 0066 Live Fast, Drive Faster!

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    Well thats a very good question. Hey whats that ove there? *Runs away*

    Accualy you make a good point. But in some story lines the transformers are made of a very strong and very durable lightweight material. However the distribution of weight still comes into play. I was thinking of how snowshoes work, and maybe the autobot employ the same methods on their feet to do the same.
     
  5. Ger_Hankey

    Ger_Hankey Now hiring evil minions

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    Guess we should be glad they didn't use Energon Optimus Prime for the movie eh?

    It really depends on how much they weigh I suppose. on the one hand, if we assume that all their car parts weigh about the same as a normal car, they also have all the robot-related machinery there so they would weigh a lot more than an earth vehicle. On the other hand, they could be made out of more advanced and possibly lighter materials and weigh a lot less. I suppose it depends on which way the movie people go with it.

    It would be cool to see the bigger TFs like Starscream do some damage when they are walking around though...
     
  6. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    I think Phy's counterpoint makes a lot of sense. Their legs - well, at least movie Ironhide's - seem to have a degree of ergonomic weight-spreading built into them, so they can handle variable terrain without sinking.

    I figure I'll post exactly what I was thinking about yesterday, too -

    If a movie Autobot stood up on top of a parking garage, would he fall through? Parking garages are designed to handle the weight of multiple cars, but, again, the design was geared towards the way CARS have their weight evenly distributed across a wider area.
     
  7. Phy

    Phy I want... ROOM SERVICE!!

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    Certainly could, if it wasn't designed for large concentrated loads. It's exactly like how some bridges have a weight limit for tractor-trailers. They can take any number of cars on the bridge, but pile that same weight of cars into one truck and the bridge starts complaining.
     
  8. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Y'know, the more I think about it, the neater it gets.

    This weight problem would compound itself (not to pun or anything) if you looked at, say, Ultra Magnus. Assuming Ultra Magnus ever showed up in the film, that's a WHOLE 18-WHEELER turned into a robot, now being placed on two feet. That is a whole damn lot of weight being displaced equally between two feet.

    Movie Magnus would spend all of his onscreen time trying to pull his feet out of potholes he made; he really wouldn't be able to deal with anything!
     
  9. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    A common concrete compressive strength is 5000 pounds per square inch. Now we need to estimate the surface area of the contact patch between a TF's foot and the surface upon which they walk, and then estimate a TF's weight. From that we can determine the pressure exerted on the surface by the TF. Let's say a TF has a foot with a total bottom surface area of one square foot (144 square inches). Now let's say that a TF weighs 10,000 lbs. The TF's resulting ground pressure would be 69 pounds per square inch, far less than the compressive strength of the concrete. The estimated TF weights and contact patch areas will surely vary, however, there would need to be a shitload of variance to get to 5000 psi. Now, let's say Bumblebee weighs 6,000 pounds and happens to be wearing high strength stiletto heels, the sidewalks may then be in trouble. Of course, thin slabs of concrete/asphalt could be cracked/sunk by extreme TF loads, but only if they are incorrectly installed/designed.
     
  10. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Holy shit. Fschuler for the science win.
     
  11. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    He'd be heavy for sure, but his trailer is largely air space and he's got some big damn feet (G1 Magnus, anyway). :D 
     
  12. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ditto, great!

    When I first saw this thread, I thought it was going to be a question like:

    What weighs more? You or your total Transformers? :lol  :lol 
     
  13. Phy

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    Not bad, dude.

    It's the dynamic loads I'd be more worried about. A quick google for figures on the force on a runner's foot brings up loads of up to seven times the runner's body weight. I imagine that's a conservative estimate based on someone who stomps when they run. :)  For, say, a 4,000 lb '78 Camaro, with a contact area of one square foot, that's near to 200 psi if he doesn't know how to run real well. Even more if he's made of denser metal than a normal Camaro. Still not near enough to really compress the concrete, but quite possibly enough to chew it up real well. I know concrete doesn't work near as well in tension or shear as it does in compression.
     
  14. Robogeek28

    Robogeek28 Who're you calling a geek?

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    That's silly, my TFs of course.:lol 

    And seriously, this weight question was something I've never thought of, the most I've ever wondered was is it considered a downgrade for any Autobot or Decepticon that takes on an Earth vehicle form, ah well.
     
  15. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    Now I'm reminded of the time I did some auto work, and the jack feet dented the driveway because I didn't put anything under it to spread out the load.

    I'd say you can bet if a movie TF does any fast running or motion, it's probably going to leave little craters in the street. Movie effects people love to do that kinda stuff. :) 
     
  16. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yeah, dynamic loads would be a different story. It would depend a lot on the downward speed of the TF's foot while running, would depend on how high he lifts his feet, the length of his stride, and the number of steps he can complete in a given period of time. It would also depend greatly (whether running, walking or just standing there) on how much of the TF's foot he uses to stand/walk/run. If he digs in with just his heel, toes, or the side of his foot, the ground pressures could be multiplied many times. Concrete/asphalt/turf would definitely get defaced by a TF's movement. Just look at what excavators/trackhoes do to pavement as they drive across them, of course, I've never seen heavy equipment in a full sprint :D 

    Concrete tensile strength is commonly ~10% of the compressive strength, and shear strength is typically ~5% of the compressive strength.
     
  17. Phy

    Phy I want... ROOM SERVICE!!

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    It's funny; you saying that got me more stoked to see the movie than the trailers did.
     
  18. TheJackal

    TheJackal Banned

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    gets me thinking about Metroplex fighting Trypticon w/ these physics applied.

    WOW!! what a hole.
     
  19. shade 0066

    shade 0066 Live Fast, Drive Faster!

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    Welcome to Transformers Physics 101. Class is now in session.
     
  20. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Transformers would almost certainly weigh more than cars... unless their alien materials allowed them to be super-light in comparison to earth alloys. Titanium alloy is very strong and way lighter than steel... (hence, it's use in airplane construction). I imagine on Cybertron, they might have other elements and metal treatment technology. Relatively light weights might explain the ease of movement TFs seem to have.

    Uhhh... one thing I noticed about some of the calculations. A lot of folks seem to be figuring on a 1 foot square surface area for a transformer's foot. Are there any vehicle TFs that would have anything close to a foot that tiny?? The tiles on my kitchen floor are 1ft square, and a TF foot would be a heck of a lot bigger than that! :) 

    I'm also sure that they would have some kind of shock absorption.

    That said, it would really rock to see TF's tear the hell out of a street just by running around and fighting and stuff. Heh... I remember in the old Battletech rules for urban combat, they had special rules for mechs "skidding" on concrete and ashphalt. Compared to open terrain where their great weight allowed their feet to sink in and get better traction, on city streets it was similar to a person trying to walk on ice with boots. Might be cool to see those physics at work in the movie. Or any TF cartoon, for that matter.

    zmog
     

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