Puzzler #7. Falling Elevator

A woman enters an elevator holding a container filled with water.  Inside the water there is a spring fastened to the bottom of the container at one end and to a cork at the other end, so that the cork is submerged just below the water surface.

falling elevator image

Unfortunately, during the elevator’s descent, the steel rope carrying the elevator breaks, and the elevator accelerates in free-fall.  What happens to the container and its contents?  Explain how you came up with your answer.

Concepts involved:

  • Weight, mass, buoyancy, displacement, free-fall, weightlessness, upthrust, density, gravity.

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