Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Penny Dropped From the Empire State Building Will Kill a Pedestrian

Everybody has heard this myth before. If this myth was true, there would many more deaths in New York City. This myth applies to any tall structure in which you could drop a penny off. This myth is false for a few reasons. Mass does not effect the speed of an object in free fall, only gravity and air resistance. If two objects were dropped from an equal height, the force of gravity acting upon them would be the same. Air resistance is something will effect the speed of an object because of an object's shape. A penny for example, would flutter on it's way down from the Empire State Building, causing a large amount of resistance. Without air resistance, a penny in free fall will be traveling at 193.3 Mph. With air resistance, the penny would fall at 10.952 meters per second, which is 35.93 feet per second. This is a very slow speed. I would say that a person hit with this penny wouldn't even get a welt...


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