Throwing a ball…

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you threw a ball out of the back of moving vehicle – but at exactly the same velocity as the vehicle was moving?

No, me neither.

However, a couple of blokes in Japan obviosuly have, and put together a practical experiment involving a small pick-up truck and a baseball pitching machine.

Then they put the video on YouTube for us to enjoy and marvel at.


4 thoughts on “Throwing a ball…

  1. Have you heard about the plane and conveyor belt problem?

    A plane is standing on a runway that consists of a freely-moving conveyor belt that will move at the same speed as the plane’s wheels at any point in time but obviously in the opposite direction. Can the plane take off?

  2. That’s a really hard one to answer – as a plane is not propelled by driving it’s wheels – (a car on a “rolling road” doesn’t move becuase the “road” is moving in the opposite direction to the car at the same speed) – I don’t think that’d work for a plane, it should be able to achieve forward momentum even in this situation (assuming there’s no mechanical limitations on the bearings of the planes wheels and the conveyor) – whether it can take off depends on the movement of air over the wings. A aerofoil can generate lift if stationary in a fast enough airflow… (all you need to demonstrate this is a kite on a windy day)

    The answer is yes (I think), as the planes wheels are not powered – it’s the thrust of the engines against the air that makes it move – not the movement of the wheels against the ground – and the movement of wind over the wings that gives it lift- eventually the bearings on the wheels or conveyor will fail as the speed of the conveyor approaches infinity but the plane should be able to move forwards, and therefore take off…

    Anyone got a plane, a couple of kilometers of conveyor belt and a video camera? 😉

  3. Actually this should be possible to scale down to test – model planes and a conveyor – is anyone from Mythbusters listening?

    Update – it appears so – the Mythbusters forum has several threads on this subject already – all reaching the conclusion that the plane can take off.

  4. Yeah – I didn’t know it was in Mythbusters forum but apparently it’s an oft-quoted problem.

    Yes, the plane is able to take off as normal, and you’re spot on with deducing that the wheels have got nothing to do with it!

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