Monday, October 01, 2007

The Path of Maximum Resistance Fallacy

I liked this comment from JREF Forum member Phantom Wolf. Addressing the claim that the buildings fell "through the path of maximum (and greatly increasing) resistance," he observed:

This makes the assumption that things should always take the path of least resistance. This is untrue as well. Objects take the path of least energy change. Think about it for a moment. If you get hit by a bullet, does it follow the path of least resistance? Surely the path of least resistance is to divert around you through the air, not to pass through your body. Why does it pass through you if that is higher resistance? The answer is because it would require more energy to deflect the bullet around you that it does to cause a plastic deformation and fracture of your body components. In the same way there is less energy required to plastically deform and fracture the building below the collapsing top that it would take to deflect that mass off to one side. Thus it is more energy efficient to crush the building below, and it does.


Concise and understandable. Terrific post!

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