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Physics of Catching Skittles



The other day my team and I were messing around and were throwing skittles into the air and trying to catch them in our mouths. If we missed slightly, the skittles would hit our tooth and it would KILL. :startle: I saw all of the physics involved with it and knew why it hurt everyone's teeth. The skittle hit our teeth with a force and the impulse exerted the force on it and there was no time for the impulse to be spread out therefore causing more work to be done. The velocity that the skittle was coming at had both horizontal and vertical velocity. The skittle first went up in the air, then came soaring back down to where we could catch it. When the skittle reached it's highest point in the air, the velocity was 0. It then built up more vertical velocity due to gravity because the acceleration of 9.81 m/s^2 caused it to speed up. The change in velocity is what caused the impulse of the skittle which in turn made our teeth hurt. We would have been able to find the velocity of the skittle if we timed how long it was in the air for, and the distance from its highest point to our mouth. By using those variables and acceleration due to gravity, we could find out what the velocity was. Skittles are my favorite so the tooth ache was definitely worth it.


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