Understanding the Difference Between Torque and BHP: Which One Matters the Most
Building a car from the ground up is not just about cramming a big block under the hood and expecting the best. The engine needs to be tuned in accordance with the kind of car you want it to be.
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The terms horsepower and torque are probably tossed around the most when talking cars. While your folks might tell you that one or the other is the only number that matters, the case might be a bit more complicated than that. Building a car ground up is not just about cramming a big block under the hood and expecting the best before it can be called a proper car, the engine needs to be tuned in accordance with the kind of car you want it to be – performance or fuel-efficiency. That’s where the two aforementioned terms come into play.
As on the video below, Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained illustrates the meaning of both terms and how it matters. Physics-wise torque is the force applied at a distance. Inside the engine, combustion is the force applied to the crankshaft at a distance through the connecting rod. Horsepower, on the other hand, is the rate at which work is done. Also, horsepower is torque times rpm.
To demonstrate the same, Fenske uses two cars that are of the same mass. One of them is with an engine that outputs 200hp and 100lbft of torque while the other has 100hp and 200lbft of torque. Which one is faster? The one with higher hp would be the one as work is done at a much higher rate.
In addition to this, gears can also manipulate torque. In this case, Fenske explains the concept with a wrench. One with a longer handle is the one with more torque as against the one with a shorter handle. This differentiation of torque is because torque is a force multiplied by distance and if the distance increases it also increase the amount of torque being applied even if the force remains unchanged.
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