The Physics of Snowblowing


Harry the homeowner needs to remove the snow from his driveway. He has a snowblower that accomplishes this task well for normal snowfall. However, it can’t clear the high drifts of plow-wash when the city snowplows clear off the street in front of his house. This snow is piled too high, and compressed too much for the snowblower to work. So, Harry wants to clear the street in front of his driveway before the plow comes so that there is no snow for it to push into his driveway. Where, exactly, in the street should Harry clear? What variables determine the size and shape of the cleared area?

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One Response to The Physics of Snowblowing

  1. Paul says:

    I think you need to know the width and angle of the plow.

    With the snowplow moving left to right, I think you need to draw a line from the left corner of the driveway to the far end of the plow so that the line is perpendicular to the plow.

    Draw a second line from the right corner of the driveway parallel to and the same length as the first line. I think the area between these lines is the area to plow.

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