So passenger vehicles and trucks have airbags to cushion the power and slow the collision. Racetracks use Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers to absorb and reduce energy when race cars contact walls to safeguard drivers.
He stated that the material used to make phone cases is one that flexes slightly and yields when subjected to impact. It has the capacity to crush a little bit," the speaker said.
According to University of Virginia physics emeritus professor Lou Bloomfield, the iPhone hit terminal velocity early in its descent. That means its downward velocity grew until drag, or air resistance, “balanced the downward force of gravity (the iPhone's weight) so that the iPhone stopped accelerating downward and simply coasted at a constant velocity,” Bloomfield said.
He added the iPhone may have fallen as it descended to counteract increased air resistance, estimating its velocity “wasn’t all that fast – probably less than 100 miles per hour and maybe significantly less than that.”
Bloomfield reported falling pennies reach terminal velocity at 25 mph in testing. “A falling iPhone should flutter down like a big penny, traveling faster but not so fast that it can't tolerate a soft lawn impact,” he added.
Important is where the phone dropped. Rakestraw said it may have been a different story if it had fallen a few feet to the side and hit the road instead of the bushes. The phone was lucky to reach a slower-moving natural environment."
Rakestraw and the pupils examine more than mobile phone drops. The lab works with students to enhance STEM education nationwide.
He stated the institute has a smartphone experiment webpage with thousands of pages. Cell phones “allow the students at even the poorest-resourced high schools in the country to do better experiments” than top institutions.