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Urban Myths: Can a coin dropped from a skyscraper kill you?

It ‘s one of Itchy and Scratchy ‘s finest moments. From atop the Empire State Building, the mouse drops a penny. With a fury merely the furies could conjure, the alloy disk hurtles down with enough rush to incinerate the cat. Classic. But is The Simpsons the perfectly accurate guide to reality we all assume it to be ? Is the urban myth true : can a mint dropped from the top of a skyscraper actually kill person ? The short answer, says physicist Jon Butterworth of University College London, is no. It could n’t even burn pulp – except in certain circumstances.

All dropped objects experience constant acceleration – in other words, they go faster and faster, their rush constantly increasing, at a rate of barely under 10 metres per second. But air resistance besides increases the promote the object has fallen. When air resistance matches graveness, the object will achieve “ terminal speed ” – maximum speed, after which it no longer accelerates. At a weight of 7.12g, a 2p mint would in theory reach terminal speed at just over 19km an hour, barely fast enough to kill you. ( The actual rush it would reach depends on a kind of factors, from humidity to publicize pressure. ) The new british egyptian pound coin proposed this week, if it weighs the lapp 9.5g as the current one, wo n’t be able to do a lot more damage either – although its bevel edges might sting a short more.

so is it ever potential for a coin dropped from a skyscraper to be lethal ? merely if chucked down a very long container sucked free of all gas – because the coin could continue accelerating for always. “ If you dropped a coin from high adequate in a vacuum chamber, it could possibly kill you, ” Butterworth confirms. True vacuums, however, merely exist in the lab : even space, once thought barren of all topic, is sprinkled with boast and dust ( though no skyscrapers as of so far ).

A breadboard, on the early hand, is a different history. Dropped from the Empire State Building, which is 381 metres senior high school, a 220g wooden breadboard on its side would take good under nine seconds to hit the establish and would hit you at a rush of 311km/hr. thus where does the penny myth come from ? Butterworth suggests it might have something to do with the psychological impact of skyscrapers. “ possibly standing on tall buildings gives people an overdo sense of their own world power. ” What ‘s your hypothesis – should we however be worried ? And what early myths about cities need debunking ? Let us know in the comments below

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Category : Economy

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