Thursday, 27 February 2020

Acceleration is a vector

I had a meeting in the ATI (Advanced Technology Institute) earlier today, and as I stole along the walkways leading up to the second floor where my meeting was, I noticed the interesting pattern of the wear on the wooden flooring.  Here's a picture taken from the second floor, looking down at the walkway on the first floor.
What strikes me about it is that at the bottom, there is relatively little wear on the wood, while the corner shows considerable wear.  Probably with little exception everyone that walks along the unworn section also walks along the worn section, and each part has been thus been subject to the same footfall.  It is turning the corner, then, that causes the damage to the surface, and not walking in a straigh line.  While there may be a lot more going on in terms of gait factors, it seems to me that this is a nice pictorial example of the fact that force is proportional to acceleration, and acceleration is a vector.  When someone is travelling in a straight line at constant speed they are not acceleration, but to turn a corner, even at constant speed, requires acceleration, and hence a force, which wears away the surface of the walkway.

While we have an Advanced Technology Institute on campus, we do not yet have a Retarded Technology Institute.