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F1, Generators and the MGU-K

After the absolute enthralling thriller of a race that was the Emilia- Romagna Grand Prix, we, here at LearnGenZ physics HQ, thought it would be great to have an F1 themed article for this week in physics. After all it is the pinnacle of motorsport (as clearly demonstrated by Haas’ 2021 challenger 🥵🥵) and therefore has a fair chunk of physics going into it, and I thought it would be fun to learn about the ERS, and more specifically, the MGU-K. The energy recovery system (ERS) is a storage of energy installed as a part of the car’s power unit that allows for extra power to be delivered to the car when needed. This can be used with DRS to breeze past the car in front of you, or to give you a boost of power when defending as well. The energy storage is filled up through two major parts of the Power unit - the MGU-K, and the MGU-H. This article will focus on the MGU-K and generators, however a MGU-H article may come out in the future.


The MGU-K’s main function is to convert the kinetic energy that is generated

during braking into electric energy and does this by being a generator.

A generator is a device that uses the laws of electromagnetism to generate

electric energy from kinetic energy. When a force is applied on a conductor that

is placed in a magnetic field, and the force acts perpendicular to the direction

of the magnetic field, a current is induced into the wire. This electrical current

can then be diverted away from the conductor and stored as electric energy.


Basically, in the case of the diagram, when you grab the handle and spin it, a force is exerted onto the coil, causing the coil to spin. This causes the coil (conductor) to be in a changing magnetic field. When a conductor is exposed to a changing magnetic field, current + voltage (emf) is induced (spawns) in the conductor – turning kinetic (motion) energy into electrical energy

This electrical energy that is generated in the MGU-K is then sent to an energy store in the power unit, which is later depleted in the lap whenever the driver choses to use it. This process is also known as ‘energy harvesting’ in f1 terms.

Anyway, that’s gonna be this weeks article from us here at LearnGenZ Physics – we hope you enjoyed / learnt smth new. For more interesting F1 news – check out the podcast where we talked about the new 2022 rules and how ground effect works. See you guys next time!

Thought I’d end the blog with some pictures of the GOAT)

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