Why The Boston Cop Went Down That Slide So Fast

The video opens with a cacophony of bangs and bonks, because the unseen officer loses an incredible battle. All of a sudden, he toboggans into body, turtle-style — legs first, face-down — whipping alongside the outer rim of the slide earlier than he spills from its extensive steel maw onto the bottom.

After the clip of a Boston police officer catapulting out of a youngsters’s slide on the just lately renovated Metropolis Corridor Plaza playground went viral, many questioned how the officer reached such an alarming velocity. (The officer sustained and recovered from a minor head damage.) Boston Mayor Michelle Wu promised “to make sure there’s more signage that this is for children or something.”

Out of a shared concern for playground security, HuffPost requested a physicist why the officer was going so quick and the way others may keep away from his misadventures.

“Normal people, when they go down a slide, they’re fine,” mentioned Rhett Allain, an affiliate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana College and the creator of “The Physics of Going Fast—but Not Too Fast—on a Giant Slide,” for Wired. “I would guess it has to be something about the clothes he’s wearing.”

All different issues being equal, Allain mentioned, a baby and an grownup must go down a slide on the identical velocity. Sure, the earth’s gravitational pull will increase with an object’s mass — however objects with extra mass additionally speed up extra slowly, and the 2 elements completely cancel one another out. It’s the rationale why, in the event you drop a golf ball and a bowling ball from the identical peak, they’ll hit the bottom on the identical time.

“Normal people, when they go down a slide, they’re fine.”

– Rhett Allain, an affiliate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana College

The most important difference-maker is friction.

“Friction depends on the two surfaces interacting, so if you have a metal slide and it’s in contact with skin or cotton clothes you have a certain coefficient of friction,” Allain mentioned. “And if you change the material, maybe to something stiff, it could make it a lot slipperier.”

If the officer gave himself a bit push on the prime of the slide, he added, it may contribute however not altogether clarify his velocity.

The video exhibits the officer wearing a neon vest and a typical officer’s uniform. A slight sheen on the pants suggests the material is artificial or tightly woven and slippery.

A public data officer for the Boston Police Division didn’t instantly reply to HuffPost’s request for touch upon the fabric used to make officers’ uniforms.

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