Monday, November 28

Friction helps dominoes in a row fall faster | Digital Trends Spanish

Collapsing a row of dominoes can be one of the simplest and most entertaining recreational activities at all ages. But even if it seems a game of children, it was not easy to scientifically determine the speed of falling of the chips.

David Cantor, a researcher at Polytechnique Montreal with a background in civil engineering, teamed up with a friend, physicist Kajetan Wojtacki of the Polish Academy of Sciences Fundamental Technological Research Institute in Warsaw, and set out to create computer simulations of a row of tiles of dominoes collapsing in a chain reaction.

The discovery was as follows: Friction is crucial in determining the speed at which the collapse cascades through a row of dominoesinforms the pair in the Physical Review Applied de June. That includes both the friction between the colliding dominoes and between the dominoes and the surface they sit on.

Science thus determined that cascading toppling was faster for closely spaced dominoes that had little friction between them and were on a high-friction surface. Less friction between dominoes, such as tiles with more slippery surfaces, means less energy is lost. And more friction between the dominoes and the surface they’re on, like rough felt, means the tiles don’t slide back too far as they fall. Otherwise, such a recoil would slow down the cascade.

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