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I'm wrestling with the problem of a car accelerating from rest whose engine is outputting a torque that would result in a force at the point of contact between the wheel and the ground that is greater than the force of static friction. From my understanding, the wheel would slip, and if the torque remains the same, would do so indefinitely (never gaining full traction). From this, the only force between the contact surface and the tire would be kinetic friction, but is this going to accelerate the car forward? I guess I'm not sure if the car would accelerate at all.

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  • $\begingroup$ Why do you think the car wouldn't accelerate forward? $\endgroup$
    – DanDan面
    Nov 5, 2020 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ @DanDan0101, I guess it seems impossible that no matter the torque (as long as it is great enough to exceed the static force of friction) the car would have the same acceleartion $\endgroup$ Nov 5, 2020 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ In that case, the additional torque will simply make the wheels spin quicker and quicker. That's where the extra power is going. $\endgroup$
    – DanDan面
    Nov 6, 2020 at 5:42

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The car will accelerate with a force equal to the product of the kinetic coefficient of friction and the total normal force on the driving wheels. This force is relatively small as the kinetic coefficient is always much smaller than the static coefficient of friction. The answer, in summary, is that the car will accelerate but relatively slowly while the wheels continue to accelerate under the torque produced by the engine. So the torque of the engine is divided into a component that accelerates the wheel, a component that accelerates the car, and friction losses (if heat is produced and hysteresis is assumed).

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