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Homework Help: Breaking Bad Pizza Throw Physics Calculation.

  1. Sep 10, 2013 #1
    Disclaimers: I am a graphic designer working with science popularisers to make interesting posters/designs based on science. Apart from High School physics (which was more than 10 years ago) I do not have a physics background so part 2 and 3 (equations and attempt at a solution) might be blank. Please bear with me.

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    We are making a poster about the famous Pizza throw in Breaking Bad season 1.

    Remembering what little I could about projectiles, this is the tentative design proposal I came up with.

    But I thought it would be great if I could actually calculate the force required to throw a party pizza onto the roof and include that in the graphic somehow.

    From what I can tell the pizza might be approx 3kg (it is huge)

    Height at which pizza lands from the ground is approx 2.5 meters.

    Horizontal distance between Walter and the Pizza landing spot is approx 3 meters

    Maximum vertical height of pizza is say 3 meters.

    Total time taken from launch to landing is say 1.5 seconds.

    I am guessing these are all the relevant variables needed.

    Thanks a lot in advance for any help. It would be much appreciated.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2013 #2


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    Nice poster, good luck with it! The force required to throw the pizza all exists during the motion of the throwers hand and arm from its low start position to the release point of the pizza , say about a meter and a half. The average force during that distance can be calculated when you know the release velocity , and the force will be directed along the release angle, theta, tangent to the initial path of the curve. You should show it that way. I think when you gave distance above ground you meant distance above the hand at release, since the thrower,s hand could be in itself 2 meters above ground. I am not sure why you want to assign a value to it instead of just labeling it as F, but it might be on the order of 100 N directed at about theta = 75 degrees above the horizontal, based on your numbers.
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