Really?  I was watching a TV programme about the new AVG, the very high-speed train in France, when the engineer explained the challenge of moving a train through the air at the speeds they are talking about achieving.  He started by explaining that air weights 1kg per cubic metre.  Sounds incredible, but being aware of something like that when you are facing a challenge, allowed French Railways to take over the rail speed record in 2007, and achieve a speed of 574.8km/hour with a test TGV train on the East European high-speed line. 

While I was watching the programme it brought back a moment when my parents and I were in Scotland getting ‘smokies’ from Arbroath.  We had been in the car for several hours and on arrival in Arbroath, Dad parked on the sea-front.  We all got out of the car for a quick leg-stretch before we went shopping.  Mum stood beside the car and lent into the wind!  It was so strong that she couldn’t walk forward at all. 🙂

A cubic metre is equivalent to 1,000 litres, or 264.17 fluid gallons, or 6.29 oil barrels, or a cube with edges of 1 metre in length.  So when you think about it, 1 kg isn’t all that heavy until you start to add up all the air around you and think about the weight you are pushing when you are walking! or in TGV terms speeding along the rails.

A portion of the TV programme I was watching talked about aerodynamics and how the Bugatti car designs of the day helped change the aerodynamics of trains in the 1930’s.  Cars are aerodynamic.  Planes are aerodynamics.  Trains are aerodynamic.  People? well are they?  Dogs?  Cats? 

Next time you are out in the breeze or the wind; think about how heavy the air is that you are trying to move through, especially if it’s pushing towards you … ! 

© 2013 Barbara J. Cormack
First published under Cormack’s Capers in Magna Intuitum