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ROLL No.: 35
General view on Horsepower:
Horsepower is defined as work done over time. The exact
of one horsepower is 33,000 ft.lbs./minute. Put another way,
if you
were to lift 33,000 pounds one foot over a period of one
minute, you
would have expended one horsepower.
The definition of horsepower was originated by James Watt
1819), the inventor of the steam engine, and the man whose
has been immortalized by the definition of Watt as a unit of
To help sell his steam engines, Watt needed a way of rating
their capabilities.
The engines were replacing horses, the usual source of
power of the day. The typical horse, attached to a mill that
grinded corn or cut wood, walked a 24 foot diameter (about
75.4 feet
circumference) circle. Watt calculated that the horse pulled
with a
force of 180 pounds, although how he came up with the
figure is not
known. Watt observed that a horse typically made 144 trips
the circle in an hour, or about 2.4 per minute. This meant
that the
horse traveled at a speed of 180.96 feet per minute. Watt
rounded of
the speed to 181 feet per minute and multiplied that by the
180 pounds
of force the horse pulled and came up with 32,580
ft.lbs./minute. That
was rounded of to 33,000 ft.lbs./minute, the figure used
Put into perspective, a healthy human can sustain about 0.1
Most observers familiar with horses and their capabilities
that Watt was a bit optimistic; few horses could maintain that
efort for long.
Human Horsepower
Machines are measured in terms of horsepower, which is a
measure of the energy output of the motor. Its the amount of
work done over time (work remember is force multiplied by
distance and is measured in Joules). The term horsepower is
used because James Watt wanted a way to describe the
power of his new invention, the steam engine. Watt observed
ponies lifting coal out of mines, and found that the average
pony could lift about 22,000 foot-pounds (the measurement
used at the time) in one minute. By increasing this number
by 50 %, Watt described horsepower of his steam engine,
which he felt to be more efficient than a pony, as 33,000
foot-pounds of work per minute or 550 foot-pounds in one
second, and thus it has remained. The SI unit for power is a
Watt and is measured in Joules per second.

A high horsepower engine has a better towing capacity than

a low horsepower engine because it can expend energy more
quickly. Weve all had the experience of being stuck behind a
car towing something very slowly up a hill, because their
horsepower isnt high enough to tow it quickly. If your body is
one kind of machine, whats your horsepower?
So with this note I am going to start my investigatory project.
Materials required
Bathroom Scale That Measures in Pounds (or 2)
Rulers That Measure in Inches (you may wish to
have one for each group)
Calculators (at least one for each group)
Stopwatch (2 stopwatches would be nice)
1) When the force applied to an object is constant, the formulas
below can be used to calculate work and power. For gravitational
forces on Earth, units of measure corresponding to the weight of
the object are commonly used.
W = work (N.m=J)
F = force (N)
d = distance (m)
t = time (s)
P = power (J/s=W)
1 hp = 746 Watts
1 lb = 0.454 kg
2) Weigh yourself (convert your mass to kg).
3) Go to a designated staircase and conduct this experiment to
determine your horsepower. You will need to calculate the
vertical height of the stairs (height of one step multiplied by total
of steps). Do not take any running starts. Have someone time
4) Calculate your horsepower for two diferent methods:
a) One step at a time.
b) Two steps at a time.
Taking one step at a time:
Name Weight Height Time Work Power Power
(N) (s) (J) (W) (hp)

Yagnik Bandyopadhyay 550 1.8 5 990 198 0.26

Sanchita Bandyopadhyay 800 3 10 2400 240 0.32

Sanjay Kumar 540 5 15 2700 180 0.24

Spandan Shaw 720 4 12 2880 240 .32

Taking two steps at a time:

Name Weight Height Time Work Power Power
(N) (s) (J) (W) (hp)

Yagnik Bandyopadhyay 550 1.8 3 990 300 .40

Sanchita Bandyopadhyay 800 3 8 2400 300 0.40

Sanjay Kumar 540 5 12 2700 225 0.30

Spandan Shaw 720 4 10 2880 288 .38

So, average horsepower generated when people
climbed up the stairs:

(i) For one step at a time = .285

(ii) For two steps at a time =.37

From my experiment I saw that humans can

generate a measurable amount of horsepower.
They don't
have nearly the power of machines, but the
amount can be measued. My results showed that
experiment worked and that my problem could be
I took help from the following sources to complete
this Investigatory project :
Companion Biology
Biology Practical Manual
Science journal