Do you ever find yourself lying in bed at night, wondering what would happen if a falling object hit you on the head? No? Just me? Okay, well, even if you’re not lying awake at night worrying about falling objects, you might be interested to know that the physics of falling objects is actually pretty fascinating—and dangerous. Let’s take a closer look at the physics of falling objects and what can happen when they hit you.
The Physics of Falling Objects
Have you ever wondered how much damage a falling object can do? It turns out that it depends on a lot of factors, including the object’s mass, its shape, and how it falls. Let’s start with mass.
The heavier an object is, the more damage it can do when it hits something—or someone. That’s because heavier objects have more kinetic energy, which is the energy that objects have when they’re in motion. When an object falls and hits something, that kinetic energy gets transferred to whatever it hits, and in large enough quantities, it can cause serious damage.
But mass isn’t the only factor that determines how much damage a falling object can do. The shape of the object also matters. A sharp object falling from a great height can do a lot more damage than a blunt one, for example. That’s because sharp objects have less air resistance, so they fall faster and hit with more force than blunt objects.
Finally, how an object falls also makes a difference in how much damage it can do upon impact. An object dropped straight down will hit with more force than an object that falls at an angle because it has had less time to accelerate as it falls. So, if you’re ever in the path of a falling object, you’re better off being hit by something fluffy than something pointy—and hope it’s not coming down too fast.
Falling objects may not seem like they could do much harm, but if you understand the physics of falling objects, you know that they can actually be quite dangerous. The next time you’re walking underneath a ladder or standing near a cliff edge, remember the physics of falling objects and be careful!