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Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You 

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  #1  
Old 03-07-2012, 06:38 PM
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Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

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It’s long been said that a penny thrown from a skyscraper could kill someone if it hit them on the head, but city workers can relax, because this is just an urban myth, according to a recent study.
Physicist Louis Bloomfield from the University of Virginia used a wind tunnel to replicate a penny falling from a great height – and they actually fall more like a leaf than a torpedo.
The results show that air resistance combined with the penny’s shape stops it becoming a lethal weapon.
Its flatness increases air resistance to the extent that it would only reach a terminal velocity of 25mph on its way down – after 50 feet - with anyone in the firing line unlikely to feel any pain at all if they were struck by one.
If there was no air at all, a penny would hit 208mph and at that speed would be capable of inflicting serious injury, but even then it wouldn’t be able to penetrate the skull.
Bloomfield placed himself in the firing line during his experiments, and reported a pain-free experience. He told Scientific American: ‘I think one bounced off my face once.’
He added: ‘A penny is pretty much a little nothing. It's not a very compact object. It doesn't drill into you very well.’
A ballpoint pen, however, does.
Bloomfield pointed out that if one of those was chucked off a tall building it would easily be capable of killing someone, if it fell in a certain manner.
If it span, those below would be safe – but if it dropped like an arrow it could reach 200mph and, as Bloomfield says, at that speed is easily capable of chipping a pavement or putting a hole in a wooden board.
‘You wouldn't want it to hit your head,’ he said.
Bloomfield's experiment proves Galileo's law of free fall. That it's not an object's mass that determines how fast it falls, but its shape and the amount of air resistance it encounters.
Back in the 16th century the pioneering scientist theorised that objects of differing weight would fall at the same speed in a vacuum.

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Old 03-07-2012, 07:10 PM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

atlast... I couldnt walk in streets before.

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Old 03-08-2012, 03:35 AM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

This has changed everything.

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Old 03-08-2012, 08:37 AM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

I wonder if the same principle can be applied to one of those £5,00 silver Jubilee coins he he he probably not.

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Old 03-08-2012, 11:09 AM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

mythbusters busted it a while ago

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Old 03-08-2012, 04:38 PM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

Eggheads shouldn't let a penny hit their delicate bonces.

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Old 03-09-2012, 07:17 AM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

We used to shoot pennies at each other with staple guns in school, found that 1in. pvc pipe and an air compresser do much better, got a penny to go through half inch plywood @ 220 psi...... ouchsies.

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Old 03-09-2012, 08:40 PM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

Thank you. Now I can sleep :)

I used to carry an umbrella in center city, just in case.

A quarter thrown at the performer at a country show will make his head bleed, if it hits him. ("Here's a Quarter. Call Someone Who Cares.") Monkey see, monkey do.

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Old 03-09-2012, 08:54 PM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

Never bought into that silliness. Hailstones often weight more than a penny, are more aerodynamic, and they fall from a much greater distance (several miles), and to top it off, they're sometimes given a downward boost from the downdrafts of a thunderstorm. Stands to reason if they seldom kill people (they have been known to cause injury more frequently, though), why should anyone be concerned about a penny falling from a skyscraper?

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Old 03-10-2012, 01:49 AM
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Re: Myth Finally Busted: A Penny Thrown From A Skyscraper Wouldn't Kill You

Hailstones hurt, especially those golf ball size ones!

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