? asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 1 decade ago

If an object fell from a height of 221 ft could that kill you, but if it fell from 220 ft it wouldn't?

Just a little argument that needs to be settled. And the object in this scenario is a hat with a bottle opener in it. Also it is falling off a roller coaster at its highest point, if that matters.

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Was alcohol involved in the creation of this argument?


  • 1 decade ago

    Not likely. The 1 ft difference in the fall height, would add only 8 fps to the impact velocity... in a vacuum. In air, due to drag it would add even less velocity because the acceleration would be less than in a vacuum. The acceleration in air is a = g(1 - D/W); where D is the drag force, W is the weight, and g is acceleration in a vacuum (32.2 f/s^2)

    As the hat offers a lot of air drag profile, and both objects together don't weigh very much, I doubt the impact of those two objects on someone's brain bucket would be more than roughly 29 fps (20 mph). [See source.] That's probably less speed than you could have tossed them. So I don't think anyone will be killed by the opener in a hat missile from 220 or 221 feet drop height.

    Source(s): I ran a computer program for a nickel dropping from 213 feet and it impacts at about 22 mph. The hat and opener are heavier, but the hat offers more drag than the coin; so I'm guessing your objects will land at about the same speed. [Had you shared the weights of the hat and opener, and the diameter of the hat, I could have run your problem and given you results based on your data.] On the other hand, in a vacuum the impact velocity would have been around 88 mph; so that would leave an owee if it hit someone's head... but they'd have to have on some sort of air breathing device, like a helmet, so they might be protected from the impact in the vacuum.
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