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Oranges and drywall

  1. Oct 18, 2013 #1
    OK, PF, I have an argument to settle and I need some expert advice.
    A friend of mine claims that it is possible to throw an orange through a 1/2" sheet of drywall (gypsum board); several other friends refute his claim. I would like to do the math to prove/disprove the theory, but my line of work doesn't give me a lot of practice with the physics of such dynamic elements.

    Question to the forum: how would I go about setting up an equation solve for this problem.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2013 #2
    Why don't you just give it a try?
  4. Oct 18, 2013 #3
    That's the next step. But if I find out how much force is necessary and it is more than a human arm can supply, then I will have to build a cannon of sorts to achieve what man cannot. :biggrin:
  5. Oct 18, 2013 #4


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    1/2" drywall is not very strong. Especially if you freeze the orange first... :smile:
  6. Oct 18, 2013 #5


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    And don't forget that if a baseball pitcher or a cricket fast bowler did the experiment, the orange would hit the drywall traveling at more than 90 mph.
  7. Oct 20, 2013 #6


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    Perhaps google for the impact properties of drywall. If you can't find them you will have to do the experiment.
  8. Oct 20, 2013 #7


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    Don't try this at home, folks!
  9. Oct 20, 2013 #8
    Uh, this seems to be outside the conditions of the OP... ? I refer to the word "throw"...
  10. Oct 20, 2013 #9


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    The question becomes one of whether the orange will fly apart from the acceleration or air turbulence before it gets enough momentum to break the drywall.

    http://www.gypsum.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/GA-235-10.pdf [Broken] talks about drywall strength.
    I'd have to learn more about the methods used for measurement of Effective Modulus of Rupture (MOR) per ASTM C 1396 to understand how to apply the numbers.

    Are you considering a freestanding 4x8 sheet? or one nailed to 17" studs?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  11. Oct 21, 2013 #10


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    Only somewhat related, but I love this movie of a cannon firing a 2x4 through a brick wall.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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