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Case-lesson "Ford: the man and the machine"
Case-lesson "Ford: the man and the machine"

Category: Human values

The level (grade): 8+

Subject: The history of discoveries and progress

Objective: Learn how automotive industry was originated thanks to the extraordinary personalities and how it was evolving during the industrial revolution

What information is waiting for me here?

  • The engine of the electric vehicle and the internal combustion engine – what is the difference?
  • What fuel is better: traditional or eco-friendly?
  • What fundamental and practical knowledge will be useful for me?
  • How to organize a large and successful automotive business.
  • How to advertise a car "properly".
  • The price of gasoline.
6 scans of the subjects, phenomena and practices:

A car is an integral part of the modern world. It is a workhorse, carrying you from place to place as well as the status symbol that demonstrates what you have achieved in life or fashion "accessory" for collectors.

Henry Ford turned the automobile from the category of "luxury" in the category of "necessity" in the time of automotive industry originators. Modern car Tesla is designed to translate electric cars from the category "future" in the category "present".

Let us look at the path from the first car to modern concept cars.



Most people think that the engine is the "main" part of the car. How does the internal combustion engine run? How does the motor of the electric car run?

The internal combustion engine (ICE) is an engine where fuel is burned directly in the working chamber (inside) of the engine. The engine converts the pressure from the combustion of fuel into mechanical work. Four-stroke engine is the most common type. Why is it so called? Engine operation takes place in four stages – strokes.


The movement of the piston in the cylinder causes a change in volume piston space. The volume of the cylinder internal cavity is called the volume of combustion chamber Vc. The volume of the cylinder formed by the piston as it moves between the dead points is called the working volume of the cylinder Vh.


where D – diameter of cylinder, mm; S – stroke, mm.

Operation of the internal combustion engine:

How does the motor of electric car run? Electric motor Tesla Model S is a direct descendant of the engine that was developed by Nikola Tesla. It is brushless, 4-pole, 3-phase AC motor with liquid cooling.

It is small compared to internal combustion engines. It is located at the rear axle between the wheels.


The motor consists of two parts: the rotor and stator. Materials (from outer to inner layer) are aluminum, steel, and copper. Bearings are the only point of contact in the motor.

This motor let eliminate the transmission and use a direct drive. The motor provides the maximum speed – 208 km/h (130 mph) on a single pass. The engine produces 100% torque at any speed. It is very effective. Engine torque is 600 N•m, 416 horsepower. A car with this engine accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.2 s.

The volume of the cylinder is important for the internal combustion engine. Battery capacity is important for the electric vehicle. It shows how much time the battery will be able to supply the connected load. Most often capacity is measured in ampere per hour – "ampere-hours". Battery capacity is the product of a constant discharge of current battery discharge time:


The energy of the battery is an important characteristic, too. We are talking about energy that can be stored in a fully charged battery. The more energy is the more voltage is.


How is the rotational motion of the wheel converted into linear motion of the car? The answer is in the field of kinematics.


Uniformly accelerated motion of a point on a circle leads to increasing of the linear velocity, that is, the circular motion of the wheel "drives" the car. In this case, the vehicle speed and speed of rotation are interrelated parameters. Their relationship is manifested in the linear velocity of uniform motion in a circle:


Circular movement of the wheel (rotation) is characterized by angular velocity. It is a physical quantity, which shows how the angular displacement provides the body (in this case, it is the wheel) per unit time. It is determined by the ratio of angular displacement to the time at which it was held:


The period of time during which the wheel (or other rotating body, such as a shaft) makes one rotation is used to characterize the rotational motion:


In addition, the car's performance is characterized by frequency – physical quantity indicates how many rotations the body makes per unit of time.

The rotary motion is transmitted through the shaft to car's wheels. With increasing engine speed, there is a corresponding increasing speed of a car. How fast is the vehicle moving at 2000 rev/min and 4500 r/min? What maximum speed can be accelerated using the second gear? Some calculations can help to get the answer. The calculation can be carried out independently, and you can use special software. For example:




The speed is 5000 rpm, wheel diameter is 18 inch (1 inch – 2.54 cm; diameter wheels most often are indicated on the label of the tire in inches).

Find the speed.


The fuel is "food" for cars, without which it is impossible to move. It can be different: petrol, diesel, biodiesel (biofuels).

Gasoline is a flammable mixture of light hydrocarbons. Aromatic hydrocarbons are the largest number; paraffin normal structure is the smallest number. An example of aromatic hydrocarbons:


Diesel fuel is a mixture of hydrocarbons, which is based on saturated hydrocarbons. It is applied to diesel engines.

The biodiesel has a high content of ethanol. Biofuel is obtained by distillation of oils - waste or oily crops (e.g., canola).


The knock resistance is the main criterion of motor fuel. It is the ability of fuel to resist self-ignition under compression for internal combustion engines. Knock resistance is expressed by octane number. It is indicated in the markings of fuel by figures 80, 92, 95, 98.

The fuel contains not only hydrocarbons. It often includes impurities: lead, manganese, resin, sulfur.

The comparative characteristic of automotive fuel:

Biofuel is becoming more and more popular. It is suitable for engines with different requirements of octane (from 76 to 98). It does not give harmful emissions: soot, smoke. However, there are critics of the biofuel introduction. They argue that growing demand of biofuel forces farmers to reduce the acreage under food crops and to redistribute them in favor of fuel.



What do you think, whether the production of biofuel is prospective in your country?


The name of Henry Ford is legendary, thanks to the many innovations that were introduced by him, as well as the charismatic "obnoxious" character.


Henry Ford is an industrialist and the inventor (there are 161 patents on his account), the owner of automobile factories all around the world. His slogan was "Car for everyone". In the early era of the automotive industry, he produced the cheapest and the most popular cars. To ensure that people were not afraid to buy cars, he guessed his workers to give cars or shares of his plants as a salary. As a result, money was saved, and thousands of cars were appeared in the country at discounted prices.

When Ford was 16, he ran away from the parent farm in Detroit. At first, he worked as a mechanic at "Electric Edison Company ". He collected his first car when he had free time. In 1903, he founded "Ford Motor Company". Ford A was the first production car.

The company succeed in 1908 when Ford Т was produced.


The car factory - "Highland Park was built in 1910. It was the most modern factory at those days. There Ford started experiment on introduction of the assembly line in manufacturing (1913). It was a revolutionary management idea.

The assembly of the car was divided into operations. For example, the engine assembly included 84 operations. One worker was collecting the engine during 9 hours, 54 minutes and 84 workers of the conveyor – 40 minutes. First, the conveyor was just a moving platform. In 1914, it was raised to the height of belt for the convenience.


Ford has created a full production cycle from ore mining to production of the car for rigorous quality control.

He introduced the highest minimum wage in the US at that time and allowed workers to participate in the profits of the company.

Cars were sold much cheaper for staff. This stimulated purchasing of vehicles by employees and, ultimately, by all inhabitants of the country. In 20-ies, Ford sold more cars than all his competitors did together.

Therefore, Detroit was the thriving "motor city" those days. However, the industrial revolution evolves in a spiral cycles. Why did Detroit become the city bankrupt, with debt exceeding $ 20 billion? Why pension funds and insurance companies were main creditors?

In 1973, the oil crisis erupted. Large "voracious" American cars could not compete with fuel-efficient Japanese and European cars. Plants were closed. In 2013, the city officially declared bankruptcy.


However, "Ford Motor Company" does not give up and follow the traditions. The headquarters is still in Detroit. The city is alive, thanks to other investments.

Automakers, given the experience of Ford, realized that fuel-efficient cars are the future that will fully embody Ford's principle: "Car for everyone". Therefore, big business is created widespread, not exclusive cars.

Electric car is promises to be flagship of the modern automobile. For example, there is serial electric car Tesla with the most popular model Tesla Model S.


The concept car was presented on March 26 in 2009 in the town of Hawthorne, CA. The sedan is developed by the brand's branch in Detroit. After finishing the design work, the factory must produce 35 000 car models in California. Depending on configuration, the car can travel 480 kilometers on average without recharging.

Motor Trend 2013 awarded the car «Car of the year» on November 12 in 2012.


How do you think, what personal qualities helped Ford to establish and develop automobile empire?


The history of automotive industry is replete with special, "incredible" marketing moves and strategies.

Henry Ford is the pioneer of this area. The secret of his success is the idea of the cars availability. In the first year of existence, "Ford Motor Company" got a half million dollars. Profit was amost four hundred thousand dollars. The first car known as the model A was sold in 1903 for $ 850. Henry Ford intended to reduce the price aimed to sell more cars in 1904.


Service is another innovation associated with the name of Henry Ford. Today, buying a car, you get the service book, which shows technical maintenance of "new things". In those days, it was differently. Automakers usually left right to address issues of vehicle repairing and maintenance to buyers. In 1905, two years after the company was founded, Henry Ford once again introduced a novelty. It was the simplest organized service with experienced mechanics.

Oval Ford's emblem has existed for over 50 years. Now it is one of the most recognizable international brands. The prototype was the logo created by Henry Ford's assistant in the early years of the company. Over the years, it has undergone many changes:


Keeping pace with time, in 30-ies the first promotional video of the Ford car was created:

Since then, many unusual, creative and memorable commercials have been created; successful advertising campaigns have been conducted. For example, in spring 2007, Ford introduced an updated Mondeo in the 90-second clip "Desire", created by Agency Ogilvy London. The inhabitants of London, dreaming about new Ford Mondeo, with the help of balloons got rid of their old cars. Computer graphics was not used – machines were really flying. To levitate cars, pre-production had to build light layouts in full size. German company Effekt Technik created the most lightweight machine, weighing less than 5 kg. It was flying, when it was filled with helium. The video was shot in 30 locations of London; the filming involved about 400 people, 1400 balls inflated with the use of 600 cubic meters of helium. These shootings have become one of the largest in London.

Creative advertising is not spared environmentally friendly cars. Agency Ogilvy Stockholm developed the advertising campaign for eco-friendly engines Ford Flexifuel. In new video advertisers showed young animals being in the mother's womb. They are the future generation, whose life must take place in a cleaner environment. It, of course, can be possible with a help of environmentally friendly engines Ford Flexifuel. At the end, the tagline appears "For future generations." This slogan also describes the contemporary policy of the company and the historical Ford's motto.


What contemporary advertising of a car do you like (or do not like) and why?


The price of gasoline is a very popular topic for discussion.

What is the price of 1 liter of gasoline (95)? The cost estimate presented in Ukrainian hryvnia.


Vehicles are the connecting links of economy. Increasing fuel prices causes rising of transportation price and leads to higher prices of all goods and services. Therefore, the price of fuel may become a limiting factor for the development of many types of business. This is why electric cars and hybrid cars that do not depend on fuel prices, are able to untie this knot sworn "a fuel price – transportation cost – the price of the goods."


Fashion is changeable, fickle, but always welcomed. It affects not only clothing, music, accessories, gadgets. There is "car fashion" in the modern world. What are trends? There are intelligent and environmentally friendly cars. It can also include hybrid vehicles – those that use more than one energy source. They combine the advantages of an electric car and a car with a combustion engine. This type is presented in many grade and classes. Following the fashion, and even supporting it, Ford Motor Company (after Tesla) has opened access to patents on technologies of hybrid cars. This will speed up the development of electric vehicle and improve existing ones:


Fashion for such vehicles is a reasonable and useful, such that is able to give impetus to development of new environmental technologies and unexpected "green" solutions.

Lesson summary:


The content


The results of the lesson-case can be complemented by  findings of students



What three websites helped to find important information?






To help the student and the coach:






Where can you get information for the case?










Location of the lesson:

Case-lesson takes place in the classroom. It is possible to conduct in the museum, the library.



Teams of boys and girls. The score was:....


  • During 2 s (t) car wheel makes 8 revolutions (N). The radius (r) of wheel is 18 inch (45.72 per cm). What is the linear speed of the car?
  • What hydrocarbons are included in the composition of motor fuel (which team will get options that are more correct?))?



 To formulate five questions to the material of the case (individual task).



90 min (paired lesson)   


The possibility to conduct the lesson with a student-understudy   

It is possible.


The acquired knowledge and developed competence:

Knowledge about importance of the individual in historical processes.

The ability to find the necessary information quickly.

Obtaining of practical skills of application acquired information.

Obtaining specific knowledge in physics, chemistry, history and other sections (shown scans).



Engine, mechanical work, combustion chamber, rotor, stator, battery capacity, angular displacement, rotation frequency, aromatic hydrocarbons, octane number, paraffin, biofuel, pipeline, service, advertising company



 Grabovskaya Larisa Leonidovna


Participated in the case upgrading:




The End

«Знання завжди повинні бути свіжими!»

Цікаві факти

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