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The Physics of High Heels

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Science Babe; The Science Of Everyday Life Hi, my name is Debbie Berebichez, and welcome to the Science of Everyday Life. Today we're going to talk about the physics of high heels. Who would have thought that the laws of motion derived by a 17th century physicists Issac Newton, would have anything to do with a pair of Manolo Blahnicks. We're going to talk more about these, as well as learn the maximum number of inches, that a heel can have for a person to remain stable. How does Physics apply to high heels? Newton's three physical laws describe the forces acting on a body, and how they relate to each motion. All bodies, including the human body are affected by these laws. Manolo Blahnik is one of the worlds most famous designers of women's shoes. His shoes are now sold around the world and range in price from $500-$2,500. The popular TV show Sex In The City, mentioned his shoes so often, that it helped cement his place in Pop Culture. Newton's Second Law Of Motion; Pressure=Force/Area Pressure, is directly proportional to the force acting on a body, and inversely proportional to the area in contact with the force. IN the case of people wearing high heels, all the body weight is applied to the ground, through the surface area of the shoe in contact with the floor. Because a stiletto heel has such a minute area, about 1/16 of a square inch, the pressure that is applied to the ground is enormous. In contrast, an elephants foot has an area of about 40 square inches, so despite it's heavy weight,the pressure that is applied to the ground is lower because the force gets distributed across a greater area. Unlike with a stiletto heel, when we wear a platform shoe, we distribute more of our weight across a greater area. Therefore, the pressure we apply on the ground gets much smaller. Newton's third law, says that the pressure we put on the ground the ground puts back on us. In his own words, For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So by wearing a stiletto heel, all the pressure that the ground exerts, goes through a very small area of the foot. That's why wearing stiletto heels can be a balancing act, between the forces of the ground, and the force of gravity. Inspired by the TV series Sex And The City, physicist Paul Stevenson from the University of Surrey in England, came up with a formula that actually helps you calculate, how high can the heels on your shoe be. His calculations showed that 5 inches is about the maximum height that a heel can have for the wearer to remain stable. Now you see that science is everywhere, even in your stilettos. Science Babe The Science Of Everyday Life

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 2,310
Posted by: zad on Jan 8, 2009

The Physics of High Heels

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