1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Freefalling laptop

  1. May 11, 2010 #1
    An object in gravitational freefall cannot sense its own acceleration. As you know some laptops come with hard-disk protection that 'seizes up' the hard-disk when the laptop takes a tumble from your table. How do the sensors in the laptop detect it is falling?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2010 #2

    phyzguy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The accelerometer in the laptop senses the acceleration that the laptop is experiencing. When it is sitting on your desk, the accelerometer senses a constant 9.8 m/s^2 acceleration from the Earth's gravity. When it is in freefall, the accelerometer senses no acceleration, as you said. It is the sudden disappearance of the normal 9.8 m/s^2 gravitational acceleration that the laptop senses.
     
  4. May 11, 2010 #3
    Excellent answer! :cool:
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  5. May 12, 2010 #4

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Meaning that you can't use this kind of laptop on a space flight... :smile:
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook