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Tubing


aweld98

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The start of November and its corresponding cold weather is making me miss summer more and more!  One of my all time favorite summer activities is tubing because it is so fun and thrilling.  Tubing has applications of both tangential  velocity as well as centripetal velocity and acceleration.  For example, when the boat makes a turn, causing the riders to go outside the wake of the boat, the tube and its riders are subject to a centripetal force caused by the tension in the rope.  Why?  Well, at the moment of the turn, the boat becomes like the center of a circle, with the radius being the length of the rope attached to the tube and the edge of the circle being the tube and its passengers.  This idea becomes more clear when riders are slingshot from the wake of the boat, because then they are actually experiencing centripetal movement and force; this part of the ride is also the most thrilling.  When the riders are experiencing this centripetal movement, they are traveling at a velocity that is tangential to the radius of the circle, which would be, in this case, the rope attached to the tube and the boat.  If a rider is unfortunate enough to fall off while they are experiencing centripetal motion, they will not fall off in the direction of the circle; rather, they will fall off in the direction which is perpendicular to the circle, because that is the direction in which their tangential velocity vector points.  The tube also as this tangential velocity, but the centripetal force caused by the tension of the rope keeps the tube traveling in the path of the circle.  Who knew there were so many physics applications in this fun summer activity!

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I'm still trying to figure out why my 3-year-old and the tube always seem to go UNDER when they're pulled behind the boat, yet heavier riders ride on the waves.  This may take some further thought!

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