In The Field

APS: Wet and wild physics

waterfoot.jpgAs I mentioned earlier, you can find just about anything at the March meeting. And yesterday I found out why the tops of your feet get soaked if you’re walking across even a thin layer of water (in say, a wet parking lot). Jake Fontana of Kent State University has studied the problem in detail, using a high speed camera. With each step, a plume of water is flung from the underside of the shoe to the top of the foot. By Fontana’s calculations about 250 cubic millimeters land on your shoe with each step.

It may not sound like much, but over the course of a kilometer, that means your shoe gets half-a-liter of water dumped on it. Some studies just beg the question why? So I asked. “It’s just something that bugged us,” replied Fontana.

credit: J. Fontana

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