Help understanding a physics inertia experiment(Hammer and a heavy block)

In summary, the experiment involved using a heavy block and a lighter wooden block to apply force on an egg. The heavy block did not break the egg, while the lighter block did. The explanation given was that the inertia of the heavy block prevented the egg from breaking. This is because a more massive block will accelerate less, resulting in less force being transferred to the egg. The hammer used in the experiment applies an impulsive force, which is different from a sustained force like weight. This means that the motion or acceleration of the block matters in terms of breaking the egg.
  • #1
ShizukaSm
85
0
The experiment is the following:

First part - The demonstrator puts an egg in the table, and places a heavy block resting above the egg, then he applies a force in the heavy block using the hammer, and the egg doesn't break.
Second part - Now he takes the heavy block away, and instead places a lighter wooden block, then applies a force with the hammer again, and breaks the egg.

The explanation to this was "The inertia of the heavy block doesn't allow the egg to break" but I don't really get it. I mean, wouldn't the same force be 'transferred' through the block and act on the egg? The same way if I push one block that touches another, the both will move?

Ps: A similar experiment can be found here, if my explanation was not clear:
http://webapps.lsa.umich.edu/physics/demolab/Content/demo.aspx?id=473
 
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  • #2
To squeeze the egg you need to accelerate the block. A more massive block will accelerate less, so it will move less in the short time period of the impact. If the force is applied continuously, the it doesn't matter which block you use. But a hammer applies just a short force impulse.
 
  • #3
Sorry but I still don't get it. What do you mean by it will accelerate less? I mean, I believe you, but I don't get it, take a look at my point of view:

IF I apply a force F in a block (Any block, that is) that force would be transmitted to whatever this block is touching (in this particular case, the egg). So, after applying a force F I would have F + Weight acting on the egg, and thus, the heavier the block the easier it would be to break the egg.

I understand that some part of my reasoning must be wrong, but... where?
 
  • #4
The hammer doesn't apply a sustained force as AT noted.

It applies what is known as an impulsive force or impulse.

The mechanics of impulse is different from ( and harder than) sustained forces like weight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impulse_(physics )
 
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  • #5
Oh, I see, I think I understand a little better now.
Thanks a lot!
 
  • #6
In order to transmit the same force, the egg would have to be perfectly rigid. But since the egg will compress a little before breaking, the motion (acceleration) of the block matters. The acceleration essentially absorbs the force.
 

Related to Help understanding a physics inertia experiment(Hammer and a heavy block)

What is the purpose of the hammer and heavy block inertia experiment?

The purpose of this experiment is to demonstrate the concept of inertia, which is the tendency of an object to resist changes in its state of motion. By observing the behavior of the hammer and heavy block, we can better understand how inertia works in real-world situations.

How does the weight of the block affect the results of the experiment?

The weight of the block affects the results of the experiment because it determines the amount of inertia the block has. A heavier block will have more inertia and will be more difficult to move or stop, while a lighter block will have less inertia and will be easier to move or stop.

What is the role of the hammer in this experiment?

The hammer serves as the force that is applied to the block in order to move it. It is important to use a hammer that is heavy enough to generate a significant force, but not too heavy that it overcomes the inertia of the block.

How does the distance between the hammer and the block affect the results?

The distance between the hammer and the block affects the results because it determines the amount of force that is applied to the block. The farther away the hammer is from the block, the less force it will generate, and vice versa.

Why is it important to perform this experiment multiple times?

Performing this experiment multiple times allows for more accurate and consistent results. It also helps to identify any potential errors or inconsistencies in the setup or execution of the experiment. Additionally, repeating the experiment with different variables, such as changing the weight of the block or the distance between the hammer and the block, can provide a better understanding of the concept of inertia.

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