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Physics of Jumping into a Pile of Leaves



When I was younger, I liked to rake all of the many leaves in my yard into one big pile. Then, I would jump into the big pile along with my siblings. Why did I, like many young kids, love to jump into a big leaf pile? Let's consider the physics behind the scenario in terms of momentum and impulse. When in the air, the instant before I have come in contact with the leaves, I have a downward and rightward (assuming that I jump in the rightward direction) velocity, meaning that I have a non zero initial momentum. When my body hits the ground again, my velocity becomes 0. Therefore, my momentum has changed, meaning that I experienced an impulse. If the same jump is repeated, but the leaves are removed, my momentum changes by exactly the same amount as in the previous scenario, meaning that the impulse that I experienced was exactly the same, but I feel a greater force than I did in the previous scenario. That is because impulse is equivalent to the average force multiplied the time during which it is exerted. The leaves lengthen the amount of time during which the impulse is applied, meaning that the force that I experience is lesser when I jump into a pile of leaves. 

Image result for jumping into a big leaf pile

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