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Table-Cloth Trick

  1. Jul 1, 2012 #1

    Is the success of the table-cloth trick ascribed to inertia, or the fact that the person pulling on the table-cloth is able to pull with a greater force than the static friction trying to oppose relative motion of the objects on the table-cloth and the table cloth itself?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2012 #2
    Have you considered that it could be both?
  4. Jul 2, 2012 #3
    Inertia is certainly necessary, but the real trick is to pull so hard that the tablecloth will be removed in a very short time that the dynamic friction doesn't have time to accelerate the objects much. The amount of momentum the objects get is (friction force) * (time), so by making the time as short as possible, the momentum, and thus the speed of the objects will be made as small as possible.
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