M5 The Falling Elevator

A woman enters an elevator holding a closed 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.  Contrary to what you might think happens to the container and its contents, the spring contracts and the cork sinks to the bottom.  Why?

Concepts involved:

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

Facebook Comments (see farther below for other comments)

comments

Don't leave me hanging...say something....