AUG 16, 2016 06:34 AM PDT
High Dives and Physics
3 5 135

It's Olympic season and that means high dives in Rio. Whether it's one athlete, or two in tandem, the physics of these 10 meter plunges are key scoring the gold and not getting hurt in the process. Lower dives at 3 meters go off a spring board, but the 10 meter board is solid concrete. Forward velocity is necessary for the diver to clear the platform. Height is also crucial, since it allows more time for twists and moves.

Once airborne, on the way to the water's surface, it's all about two positions, tuck and pike. Each affects the diver's rotation. Proper control of rotation will increase their speed but decrease the moment of inertia and it's this very precise ratio that allows them to do such complex and high scoring moves in a very short time. In a tuck dive they have less control over rotation, and less moves on the way down, but it's a higher scoring dive because it's more difficult.

Finally, it's all about the splash. Divers are judged on how little splash they create on entering the water. After a bunch of flips, the diver has to straighten out to achieve this low splash entry and there's not much time, plus it's working against the physics of rotation. Divers at the Olympic level have to judge their speed, rotation, distance from the surface and how many twists and flips they must do in under ten seconds, while traveling at more than 30 mph on impact. It's a lot of math and physics in addition to superior athletic ability.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
MAY 17, 2018
Videos
MAY 17, 2018
How Musical Instruments Boost Brain Function
Music and the brain are often part of the same scientific research projects. How music is processed in the brain and how we learn to recognize and replicat
JUN 04, 2018
Videos
JUN 04, 2018
The trick to surviving quicksand
Getting stuck in quicksand really isn't the way you want to go. But here are some tricks you should know in case you ever find yourself in a stick
JUN 07, 2018
Health & Medicine
JUN 07, 2018
Hantavirus Kills a Woman in New Mexico
Hantavirus is a respiratory disease that is contracted when airborne particles from rat droppings and urine are breathed into the lungs. Symptoms can initi
JUN 15, 2018
Videos
JUN 15, 2018
How not shaving can save the planet
Every year in the US we throw away 2 billion “disposable” shaving razors. But the problem is, these items are not actually disposable at all &n
JUN 19, 2018
Videos
JUN 19, 2018
Here Are a Few Good Reasons to Avoid Whale Carcasses
With whale beachings on the rise, it’s important to remind everyone about the dangers associated with approaching a whale carcass. While the dead wha
JUN 21, 2018
Videos
JUN 21, 2018
How does a ladybug fold up all its wings?
  When was the last time you really looked close at a ladybug? Probably when you were a kid, right? Well, it's time to take another look. Scientis
Loading Comments...