The video opens with a cacophony of bangs and bonks, because the unseen officer loses a terrific battle. All of a sudden, he toboggans into body, turtle-style — legs first, face-down — whipping alongside the outer rim of the slide earlier than he spills from its broad steel maw onto the bottom.
After the clip of a Boston police officer catapulting out of a youngsters’s slide on the just lately renovated Metropolis Corridor Plaza playground went viral, many questioned how the officer reached such an alarming pace. (The officer sustained and recovered from a minor head damage.) Boston Mayor Michelle Wu promised “to verify there’s extra signage that that is for kids or one thing.”
Out of a shared concern for playground security, HuffPost requested a physicist why the officer was going so quick and the way others might keep away from his misadventures.
“Regular individuals, after they go down a slide, they’re positive,” mentioned Rhett Allain, an affiliate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana College and the writer of “The Physics of Going Quick—however Not Too Quick—on a Big Slide,” for Wired. “I’d guess it must be one thing in regards to the garments he’s sporting.”
All different issues being equal, Allain mentioned, a toddler and an grownup should go down a slide on the identical pace. Sure, the earth’s gravitational pull will increase with an object’s mass — however objects with extra mass additionally speed up extra slowly, and the 2 elements completely cancel one another out. It’s the explanation why, for those who drop a golf ball and a bowling ball from the identical top, they’ll hit the bottom on the identical time.
“Regular individuals, after they go down a slide, they’re positive.”
– Rhett Allain, an affiliate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana College
The main difference-maker is friction.
“Friction depends upon the 2 surfaces interacting, so when you’ve got a steel slide and it’s involved with pores and skin or cotton garments you might have a sure coefficient of friction,” Allain mentioned. “And for those who change the fabric, possibly to one thing stiff, it might make it rather a lot slipperier.”
If the officer gave himself slightly push on the high of the slide, he added, it might contribute however not altogether clarify his velocity.
The video reveals the officer wearing a neon vest and a typical officer’s uniform. A slight sheen on the pants suggests the material is artificial or tightly woven and slippery.
A public data officer for the Boston Police Division didn’t instantly reply to HuffPost’s request for touch upon the fabric used to make officers’ uniforms.