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Name: Eddie
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: USA
Date: Summer 2012


Question:
May you elaborate on the slinky theory? In physics the slinky theory says if you drop a slinky from mid-air , the bottom of the slinky will remain hovering until the top of the slinky touches the bottom part of the slinky. I am just wondering how this possible.

Replies:
The bottom will not necessarily hold in place for that long, but at least initially it will not fall because the tension in the spring pulls it upward just as strongly as before the top of the spring is released.

The top of the spring, on the other hand, will fall faster than free-fall because it has the spring's tension as well as gravity pulling downward on it.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D., M.Ed. Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Wyoming


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