Physic – Superhero Project
At the end of our last round of physics class, we got a small individual project to work on. We have learned so much about physics this year such as kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, momentum, static electricity, and many more. So our facilitator gave us this small little project for us to do called the “Superhero project” where we analyze scenes from movies or pick a superhero to explain the physics behind those scenes or their power. In this project, I picked something called “superhero landing” to explain.
If you watch superhero movies, anime, or playing games, you might already see these scenes where the superhero or even the villain does this “three-point landing” or we can call it “superhero landing” to make it fancier. But what is superhero landing? Superhero landing is when the character jumps from a high place and hits the ground with one foot, one knee, and either one of their hand or fist. The character does this to make it look cool and impress their audiences. And we as the audience would be like “OH MY GAWD! I LOVE THIS SCENE.” This superhero landing scene looks really cool but in real life, it is really dangerous. You might hurt yourself if you try to do it.
In order to explain this concept, we need to talk about the impact force. Impact force is a force that delivers a high impact in a short period of time when two things collide with each other. If we fall on this planet, the force has to apply to us by the surface of the earth or whatever comes in between us and the earth. To make it more clear, we have to use Newton’s second law about the momentum where the Force equals the change in momentum over the change in time. This equation describes how quickly something’s momentum changes. Momentum is mass times velocity. So, just before the contact, the more something’s momentum is about to change, which means to move from some velocity to zero, the more force it will take. That is why something that has a tiny mass like an ant, would be fine after jumping from a high place and hit the ground while something that has a greater mass like a human, wouldn’t be fine after hitting the ground from a high place. Because we can’t change our mass or the earth’s gravity, therefore, the simplest thing we can do to minimize the impact on us during landing is to increase the time it takes for our momentum to come to a full stop. Increasing the time means decreasing the force. And that is why we used to bend our knees or roll to the front or side as we see in parkour/freerunning videos, or experienced by ourselves. By doing this, it can help to transfer the downwards momentum into forwards momentum which can be safer than doing the superhero landing. But if we try to do the superhero landing after jumping from a high place, it will increase the risk of breaking our bones because there is a lot of force acting on us and if the force is around 4000 Newtons or higher, it will immediately break our bones (human femur: the only bone in the thigh and the longest bone in the body). There is also a method known as a “parachute landing fall” in which you don’t even stand up. You land, bend down, and start rolling over the ground. By doing this, it can help to extend the distance over which you stop even more.
To sum up, superhero landing is when the character jumps from a high place and hits the ground with one foot, one knee, and either one of their hand or fist. The character does this to make it look cool but in real life, it’s going to be a bad idea and it can damage you too. Based on Newton’s second law about the momentum where the Force equals the change in momentum over the change in time, this means that the more quickly all that momentum comes to a complete, the more force it is going to take. We can’t change our mass nor the earth’s gravity so the best thing for us to do to reduce the force is to extend the time it takes for your momentum to come to a complete stop. And that is why we used to bend our knees or roll to the front or side to extend the time. But if you try to do the superhero landing after jumping from a high place, it will increase the risk of breaking your bone. So do not try the superhero landing. You’re just going to hurt yourself.
Below, it just an infographic that I made for visualization. (It is similar to the information above!)