What Happens When You Drop a Slinky

High speed cameras finally put the myth to rest. :)

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Picture of Limberg43 achievements

+29 1. Limberg commented 10 years ago

the bottom doesn't know squat! it just does what the forces dictate... this kind of language is why people won't understand the physics of this experiment.
Picture of FatHorse29 achievements

+23 2. FatHorse commented 10 years ago

Science-FAIL!!! :x

Why bother trying to explain the phenomenon to people if you're dumb enough to use expressions like "It KNOWS"... WTF! It's a thing! There were thousands of better ways to explain this... :S
Picture of paolo34 achievements

+7 3. paolo commented 10 years ago

:O cool :)
Picture of Urihep40 achievements

+7 4. Urihep commented 10 years ago

I can't believe how much I really enjoyed this clip.
Picture of OnetimeX36 achievements

+4 5. OnetimeX commented 10 years ago

A Slinky a Slinky, everyone loves a Slinky >:) >:) >:)
Picture of leolazer38 achievements

+4 6. leolazer commented 10 years ago

What crap show is this - where they don't even know how to explain plain simple things. Why mangle physics?
Picture of orion27 achievements

+1 7. orion commented 10 years ago

Like #1 and #2 said, this is a misleading and childish explanation.

While the spring above the bottom is stretched, it is properly "hanging" on the higher parts of the slinky, its environment is exactly the same as before the top is released. The same holds if there is a tennis ball there. At the moment of release, the forces are unbalanced only for the topmost part. The disturbance then propagates downwards like waves.

If you observe the center of mass, it falls just like any other object. Only the shape of the object changes in a way that some parts remain stationary for a while. Kinda like a falling cat, only the cat's motion is much more complicated.
Picture of lerpo30 achievements

+15 8. lerpo commented 10 years ago

0:15 300 butt frames per second
Picture of loadrunner54 achievements

+2 9. loadrunner commented 10 years ago

What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs
and makes a slinkity sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing!
Everyone knows it's Slinky...
Picture of irishgek50 achievements

+2 10. irishgek commented 10 years ago

That was the worst attempt at a science show and/or explanation I have ever seen
Picture of huldu34 achievements

+4 11. huldu commented 10 years ago

Duh... Jesus is holding it. Burn the heretics that say otherwise.
Picture of davor138720 achievements

+2 12. davor1387 commented 10 years ago

Well just physics at work. But all science on the side - the cool part was how the bottom looked almost still in time. Hax >:)
Picture of detonatordan22 achievements
Comment rated too low. Show this comment

-5 13. detonatordan commented 10 years ago

What a large amount of mis-wording, Hey I was once rewarded a pardon from a judge for a cop mis-wording my charges by saying I knowingly did a misdeed!The bottom of the slinky knows nothing! It knows absolutely nothing! Idiocy in human communication! It just doesn't reacts to the force of gravity that's pulling the top half down until it reaches it! And no one could prove what I knowingly or not knowingly did by automatically saying that I knowingly did it, because, as the judge said: "No one knows what I know"!ingly am doing or not!' Anyways this video is stupid!
Picture of gouranga4ever43 achievements

0 14. gouranga4ever commented 10 years ago

The Australian version of physics..
Picture of MurderVictim18 achievements

+1 15. MurderVictim commented 10 years ago

Two confused idiots attempting to confuse even more people.
Picture of sub16 achievements

+2 16. sub commented 10 years ago

#2 I would really like to see posted one of the thousand better explanations that you have....oh sorry...i forgot that criticism gets more "points" or "hits" or whatever.
Picture of davor138720 achievements

+1 17. davor1387 commented 10 years ago

f--- it, let's call Mythbusters and blow it up.
Picture of dopsy35 achievements

+3 18. dopsy commented 10 years ago

So if you terminate comunications between the uppet and the lower part, the thing will levitate ? ::(|)
Picture of Sizzlik64 achievements

+2 19. Sizzlik (admin) commented 10 years ago

#18 Now youre thinking in portals :P
Picture of Premtm36 achievements

0 20. Premtm commented 10 years ago

I have played with the Slinky before but never really understood it. This scientific explanation amazed me.
Picture of Kendiana29 achievements

-1 21. Kendiana commented 10 years ago

I like when my wife wears "slinky" clothes. Always makes me "spring" into action. :P
Picture of Gorf35 achievements

+2 22. Gorf commented 10 years ago

#21 I like it when your wife wears slinky clothes, too...

Picture of orion27 achievements

+1 23. orion commented 10 years ago

Funny, everybody is bitching about the bad explanation, but the correct one gets negative rating. No wonder this kind of pseudophysics is so common. People obviously like it better.
Picture of Siruss21 achievements

+1 24. Siruss commented 10 years ago

I understand what I saw, which was really cool, but they didn't properly explain why. :(
Picture of LaoMa28 achievements

0 25. LaoMa commented 10 years ago

#7 kind of said this already, but to hopefully make it clear for everyone, here goes:

Both ends have a tension caused force vector towards the center point of the coil equal to the gravitational force. We can know this because the lower part is stationary and the Slinky is symmetrical. When the top is released the bottom still has the same forces in effect as it had before. The top however now lacks one force - the hand - and thus starts moving. Because the coil is so soft, the new downward force vector doesn't transfer to the bottom until they pretty much collide.

A more rigid coil would most likely start moving at the bottom too, as the kinetic energy of the falling top would partially transfer to the bottom part. A completely rigid object would (obviously) have both its ends moving instantly.

Basic kinetics in action. 8-)
Picture of roady24 achievements

0 26. roady commented 10 years ago

What is this "downward force vector doesn't transfer " rubbish? You are as bad as the guy in the clip. The slinky is in free fall. Because the stretching force on it before it started was gravity, when it was released the ends accelerated towards the middle at roughly the acceleration of gravity (it is a spring, storing force exactly is what we use them for). The top is accelerating down at G + G, the bottom is doing G - G until the spring is used up. And G - G = 0 so no relative motion.
Picture of Steelhunky26 achievements

0 27. Steelhunky commented 9 years ago

Kind of like what Wall Street has done to us!