Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About AaronSwims

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  1. The Year in Review So Far

    Well, we're half way through our senior year at Irondequoit High School and graduation in just over five months away. Where have the past four years gone? But I am excited for the future. The second quarter was not so rough as I found a new wave of motivation upon the beginning of swim season which pushed me to work harder and keep everything the status quo. However, that backfired as i forgot about these blogs until midterms and then had tests to study for, practice, and blogs to write . It added more stress as I had ideas to write about but never did them. Moving forward I will have alarms scheduled for each week to get a blog post done. Here is to finishing out strong over the rest of the year.
  2. The Not So Millennium Falcon

    As i have before in these posts reminisced on baseball, this too relates to the sport. For those that don't know, Kodak Tower used to be home to a pair of Peregrine falcons. These birds are the fastest animal on the planet diving at speeds of up to 200 mph (321.869 kph). How do they do this with their tiny bodies? physics. These birds dive onto their prey turning gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy,, while at the smae time, they tuck their heads and wings in towards their bodies to reduce cross sectional area and thus drag.
  3. not so on Top of this

    The class was told to find a partner and a table then given a description of materials 6 pennies, two paper plates, a pencil ,and tape. Then came one final instruction, "make a top." 1. How did this activity relate to the engineering design process? The engineering design process includes four main steps, design, build, test, and reflect. This relates in the fallowing way. First, we to the best of our ability, tried to find the center of a plate and poke a pencil through. Then we traced out where each penny should go in order to make them equidistant from the center and each other. Then we built. Th planned design worked slightly, so back to the drawing board, we remapped the center and the pennies and the top spun. 2. How does the activity relate to angular momentum and moment of inertia? Moment of inertia involves the distance of mass from its center and how it is spread out. We had no perfect means of finding the exact center, thus the top was for some time doomed to wobble. Due to the world refusing to be frictionless, the angular momentum of the top had to be accounted for to keep the top rotating upright as possible.
  4. What has Elon Done?

    The recent static fire of the Falcon Heavy Rocket on January 24th got m thinking more about SpaceX and how the company has revolutionized space flight. While NASA continues to pay SpaceX for launches to the ISS, they also continue to invest money and time into developing the Space Launch System (SLS) lead by Boeing to replace the space shuttle. But back to the static fire. SpaceX fired all 27 merlin engines of the Falcon Heavy on the launch pad as a final test before the maiden launch of the Falcon heavy. This reminded me about how i have yet to write about the launches or landings of Falcon 9, and the little i could explain of the launch and reuse of first stage rockets. First, the ignition of the Falcon 9's 9 merlin engines provide 7,607 kN (1,710,000 lbs) of thrust to launch the rocket. As the gases from the liquid oxygen and kerosene fuels leave the engines, it exerts force on the Earth which then pushes the rocket off the ground by Netwon's third law of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Then, while rising up through the atmosphere and upon return to the adorably named, "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship, the rockets first stage experiences drag forces. Upon launch, the rocket must be able to overcome these forces and upon re-entry, not burn up. The Falcon 9 first stage carries extra fuel to to fire the engine for a landing burn above the drove ship to counter act the rockets combined kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy. The rocket also has fins attached that open upon decent to apply drag to the rocket to steer and slow down. This process of landing first stages and reusing them has cut the cost of SpaceX launches dramatically and has still had its fair share of failures, enjoy.
  5. Winter Physics 2018-2: Ice Skating

    The winter Olympics has both traditional figure skating, and speed skating as events. For this post I will focus more on the physics in Speed skating. First, how to go forward on ice skates. Since the friction between ice and sharp skates is almost zero you cannot simply just move, however, an ice skater must keep one foot in the direction of travel and push off the other at an angle from the first foot. This then creates forces in the x and y plane of the second skate, and it is the perpendicular force that pushes the skater forward. Now for short track speed skating. The radius of the turns in short track are much smaller than those of traditional speed skating so the skaters must than rely on their momentum from the straight portions of the track in order to go around the turns. Also, the lean seen above is caused by the centripetal acceleration of the skater around the turn. g= 9.8m/s2 G is the skaters center of mass P is the point of contact between the skates and the ice L is the distance between P and G Fx and Fy are the x and y components of the contact force respectively R is the turn radius ac is the centripetal acceleration of the skater Θ is the angle between L and the horizontal Fy - mg = 0 Fx = m(v2/R) Fx sinΘ *L - Fy sinΘ *L = 0 By combining the first and final equation you would end up with: tanΘ = (Rg)/(v2) Assuming an average radius of 8m, and the top speed of American Olympian J.R. Celski, at around 10.967 m/s at the 2009 Jr championships, the angle that Celski would lead would be 33.1o
  6. Winter physics 2018: Luge

    The 2018 winter Olympic games begin in less than a month on Friday, February 9th in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Though I do prefer the events of the summer games, I will have to wait till Tokyo 2020. However, the winter games still has athletes who use physics in order to bring home the gold. In this post I am focusing on a weird but fun event to watch: Luge. In luge, the athlete must try to travel down a track in the least amount of time in order to win. This is where it gets interesting. After a the athlete creates their initial velocity by moving themselves back and fourth with handles at the start, the only force acting on the Luger which could increase speed. However, it is not so simple as the Luger must fight the friction on the ice from their sled blades and the drag forces of earth's atmosphere. The drag force on a Luger can be calculated by: Fd= .5CpAv2 where C is the drag coefficient (typically ranging from .4 to 1), p is the density of air, A is the frontal area, and v is the velocity of the luger. Minimizing drag increases the luger's speed so they minimize the variables they can. Luger's lay nearly flat on their sleds with pointed toes to create the least possible frontal area. If they didn't have to look up to see where to go, the luger could lay completely flat, but we haven't yet strapped cameras to these people and had video play in their helmets. Go USA! Next, there are two parts of the track, straight and banked turns. While on the straight part of the track, the luger can lay flat, however he must look up to steer on the turns. When going around the turns, the luger expireinces a centriptal acceleration. With speeds reaching 140 km/h, and a turn with a radius of 30.9m, a luger can feel up to 5g's of centripital acceleration.
  7. Vinny Bray's Fancy Flips

    This morning i worked with Vinny bray and after all the swimmer exited the water we talked about our swim and dive season, which lead me to this thought. As my practice last night continued and a kick set presented itself, I took the time to watch and mess with Vinny Bray, the top diver at IHS. Vinny this year is trying to break the school 11 dive record of 431 points at sectionals, and this year he has worked on dives of increasing DD (Degree of Difficulty) this year. But what is he really doing once leaving the board, some would say just some flips but, oh no, he is mastering physics. In high school diving, divers dive off a one meter high board instead of the Olympic 10 meter, but that doesn't matter. A classic dive style for Vinny includes the tuck position, in which he would compact his body, decreasing his moment of inertia, allowing him to complete more flips before entering the water. As Vinny's moment of inertia decreases, his rotational speed increases to conserve angular momentum. Then, there is the pike position. This also helps to decrease moment of inertia, however the divers legs are kept straight, granting less control over angular velocity and increasing degree of difficulty.
  8. How Different Pitches "Break"

    We are now only a few weeks out from the unofficial start to the Major League Baseball season, pitchers and catcher reporting. This day, February 13th, 2018, begins the spring training process that leads up to the start of the season on March 29th. My realization of the nearing call, lead me to think about how many different breaking and off-speed pitches that exist in baseball today. What i discovered is that only two main factors contribute to how pitchers manipulate their throws to be more than just a simple thrown ball. Every curve-ball for example moves based on the position in which the ball lies in the pitchers hand, and the spin applied. Of these two factors, spin seems to have the greatest effect and the most physics tucked away. The physics of pitching starts by looking at air as the fluid it is and knowing it fallows Bernoulli's law. This states that an increase in the velocity of a fluid decreases its pressure. When a pitcher throws a curve-ball they spin the ball to use this principle to do deceive the batter. A baseball has three axis on which it can spin, X. Y, and Z. Forward spin along the x-axis is known as top spin while backwards spin along the x-axis is what we know as backspin. These two spins carry great effects on balls as they introduce rotation either in the direction or against the direction of travel. As the ball flies through the air, the bumps on a ball cause drag that allows the sin of a ball to change the pitches placement and direction. As the ball spins in either direction it causes a pressure differential on either side of the ball due to Bernoulli's principle. Then combine topspin and backspin with a spin along another axis, it is easy to see how all other pitches are created, simply by some combination of these spins. This all holds true until we consider the one, rare, odd ball pitch: the knuckle-ball. The knuckle ball has little to no spin on it and thus is considered by some to be a cheap pitch and many are not taught to throw it. Simple thought justifies that it would be simple to hit a ball with no spin since it wont move like previously stated. That's where things get complicated. The knuckle-ball benefits from chaotic fluid dynamics where each imperfection in the balls surface leads to an impact on its flight. Since this is so subtle, it only requires a slight change in the balls path to completely change the balls direction. As a result, the ball wiggles uncontrollably and unpredictably fooling even expert batters.
  9. Fire is Wild

    Many describe fire as one of humanity's greatest discoveries. It helps to keep us warm, provides light and energy, and can the remaining coals can help to cook a mean dutch oven stew or cobbler. Fire works by combustion, requiring fuel, oxygen, and an energy source to kick start the reaction. Though this sounds more towards the chemistry side of science, fires in the wild have mastered physics in order to spread and speed up their consumption. Most wild fires tend to seemingly prefer to spread uphill when compared to another other possible direction of travel. The reason for this leads to the physics of wild fires. Fire, like the sun, releases radiant energy to its surroundings. As a fire burns at the base of a hill, the fire radiates energy to the combustible matter in its path. This allows the fire to supply its own energy source to start a new combustion reaction or to feed its current reaction. Studies of wild fires in California, found that for every 10 degrees of slope on a hillside, a fire can double its speed.
  10. The Bizzare Way Butterflies FLy

    With this recent warm weather that we have had, i have had thoughts of spring and a world booming with plant life. With spring time in Rochester comes rain, sadly, and everyone's friend the Monarch Butterfly. Butterflies also have an enormous wingspan compared to their body size, and research shows that most butterflies can fly with damaged wings, or even as little as half of their current wing span. All those times as child when your parents told you not to touch a butterflies wings or wont be able to fly, that's right, they lied to you. So this brought me to question the size of their wings as towards advantages, and also lead to an interesting discovery about butterflies. First, did you that butterflies fly by contracting and relaxing their bodies rather than directly flapping their wings? This creates a more bizarre flight pattern making harder for predators to catch butterflies. Try it, their tough little buggers. As for the matter of why their wings are so large, its because their larger wingspan makes them more agile in the air allowing them to turn faster in the air. Butterflies have over evolved their flight and have one up'ed the animal world. They think they're better than us. Can't trust butterflies.
  11. A Box of Minions

    Very clever. You should pitch this idea to dreamworks and make some money off the new movie.
  12. Mr. Guercio's Brick

    I wondered why he had that brick. And it serves a double purpose I almost fell over it during every presentation.
  13. Momentum in Sports

    Congrats on Sectionals! A very clever way to mix in physics. I wish I could have made it to the game.
  14. I'm Having Such a Good Time

    I understand the struggles of balancing work, sports, scouts, your Eagle project, and school. It will get easier over time.
  15. Catching Up Time

    The German's coming to the US was both a blessing and a curse. But hey we survived over there and state side.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.