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"Since 2000 I have been working on the development of sculptures with expressive motion as a starting point."

Car Swing & Looping project

2022-09-30 (V. van der Wijk)

During the last months I have been busy with two so far secret projects (together with the birth of my wonderful daughter Sofia a few weeks ago). Here I'd like to share the first project: a huge installation named the "Car Swing" which I am developing together with Emile Luijben (Mastermilo) for the 'Op de proef gesteld' campaign of the University of the Netherlands.

This computer illustration shows what it is going to look like: A Volkswagen Golf will be swinging as a 6 meter long pendulum hence and forth and eventually make a looping at 12 meter height(!). Every time the car passes the ground it accelerates by the 'driver' giving gas to swing up higher and higher. 

Together with Emile we've made the conceptual design. While I am busy with the dynamic simulations, calculations of the dynamic forces, and making a design that is strong enough, Emile is taking care of the production. The design is very challenging, as the dynamic forces will be significant: with a looping the car will exert 5G acceleration forces on the driver when passing the ground, which is 5 times heavier than gravity, making a 1000 kg weighting car act as if it is weighting 5000 kg, and a person of 80 kg as if weighting 400 kg. This is about the maximal acceleration force that is allowed in rollercoasters, and near the limit a human can handle without special gearing. With a countermass on the other side of the swing (blocks of concrete) the car can be balanced, reducing these enormous G forces and eventually making it possible to slowly drive comfortably in looping circles. However these countermasses introduce other large forces that have to be designed for.

This project was initiated by the University of the Netherlands with the aim to promote science. As Assistant Prof. of the TU Delft I will be explaining in the videos how to design such large moving structures, how to think of the (dynamic) forces that act in the material and how they have to 'flow' through the structure. And of course, how to balance them.

If you'd like to see more of the production in the workshop (the base frame has already been produced and used by Emile to make himself loop), then have a look at Emile's video's below or visit his youtube channel. He makes excellent and very insightful recordings.