Swinging a bucket (sure beats kicking it!) in AP Physics

When the 16 students who comprise L-S's AP Physics class arrived first period today, their teacher, Dr. Tom Habowski, did a demonstration involving swinging a bucket of water in the air. He quipped that in the event the experiment failed, he had "highly absorbent" paper towels ready to go to clean up a spill. He did not need them.

Dr. Habowski demonstrates centripetal force.
The class is studying circular motion and centripetal force, so the experiment fit into one of its homework problems about tension on a rope when swinging a bucket.

When done correctly (and swung at a sufficient speed), the water does not fall out of the bucket; the centripetal force "holds" the water in the bucket since the water has a tangential velocity pointing horizontally.
"I just thought of this experiment this morning," Habowski says, going on to comment that it has been several years since he has swung a bucket of water in class.

The class enjoyed the activity.


Senior Beth DiBiase says, "I thought it was really cool when [classmate] Chaz [Wolf] did it on the first try."

--Benjamin Pontz, LSNews.org Editor-In-Chief

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