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How I Broke My Pinky

Zachary Denysenko

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Everyone knows the blue, padded gym walls. If someone was to offer you 10 dollars to punch one as hard as you could, there are at least 5 of you out there who would take it. Well, had i known the physics of a punch, I wouldn't have ended up with a broken pinky. If you're going to punch a blue wall in the gym, keep this in mind. The longer the punch connects with the wall, the smaller the force was. This makes sense logically,, if i hit something hard my hand will bounce back from the collision. If I just Touch it, the collision is a lot less forceful and far less damaging.

Airbags rely on this fact as well. Newton's first law accounts for inertia, and in a car accident, inertia might throw you through a windshield. Airbags deploy and you fall into them, keeping contact for much longer than you would have if you smashed into the steering wheel. This weakens the blow, and therefore the damage that the force will have



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Excellent analysis -- we'll go much further with this type of situation when we talk about momentum and impulse (coming up shortly!)

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