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How A Pogo Stick Works Essay

1672 words - 7 pages

How a Pogo Stick Works The pogo stick is a mechanical device that utilizes the spring's ability to store energy. In this paper I will explain how the toy uses the laws of physics to provide hours of fun. There are a lot of forces acting on you and the pogo stick as you bounce along. We'll take an in depth look at all of these forces and what part they play in the overall functioning of pogo sticks. The physical aspects can be broken down into sections to get a better understanding of what is going on.Pogo sticks have been around for a long time. They were very popular during the 60's and 70's. People would spend all day hopping around their driveway on the pogo stick. The pogo stick was like ...view middle of the document...

The energy that is stored in the spring is called elastic potential energy. Then released as kinetic energy when the spring goes back to its equilibrium.The spring is a coil of metal that can provide a mechanical advantage. When a spring is at rest and has no other forces acting on it there is an equilibrium point. This is the point on a spring where it goes back to if you compact or stretch out the spring. You can use springs to store elastic potential energy for later. For instance if you take a spring and compress it then let it go it will restore itself to its equilibrium position. The equilibrium point also allows you to tell how big of vibrations the spring is making. Manufacturers make springs in various shapes and sizes. The most common type of spring as a toy is the slinky. Some have very tightly compressed coils and others are made with loose coils. For the pogo stick however, you need to have a very strong and rigid spring to make a big difference with the weight of a person. If you had a loose spring that was very easy to compress then you would not be able to store as much energy in it.One type of a physical property is the friction force. Frictional forces are what keep you from sliding off the pedals of the pogo stick. If there was no friction and you came down at even the slightest angle you would slip right off. The pogo stick is designed with rubber pads on the pedals to create extra friction. Another import aspect when describing how a pogo stick works is the friction force between the tip at the bottom of the pogo stick and the ground. This part of the stick has a rubber pad attached to it as well. For example if you wanted to move forwards, you would tilt the pogo stick at a forward angle. When you angle it the bottom of the stick tries to go behind you, but because of strong frictional forces created by the rubber and the ground the friction then pushes you forwards. But what if there was no friction? If you had no friction the bottom of the stick would slide straight out from under you, which could result in a very nasty face plant.Normal forces are forces that determine which way you go and at what velocity you travel. When you get on the pogo stick and get your balance you then jump up pulling on the handles to keep your feet in tact with the pedals. When you push down against the earth you a exerting a normal force equal to the weight of your body plus the pressure that you exert downward on the pedals. However, those are not the only forces that are acting on you. The earth is also exerting a force on you or else you would go into the ground. The earth exerts a force that is equal to the normal downward force that you are exerting on the earth. These normal forces are equal and therefore they make up an action-reaction pair. Action-reaction pairs come from Newton's third law of motion, "For every force that one object exerts on a second object, there is an equal but oppositely directed force that the second object...

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