Lying on Nails!

Q:
How is it possible for a person to lay on a bed of nails without hurting themselves?
- Racey Sears (age 11)
Bayou Vista Elementary, Morgan City, Louisiana
A:
 Well Racey, that was a good question. Well, to start off, a person’s weight is simply how much force that a person exerts on the earth due to gravity. If a person is lying on one nail then he or she would have all of his weight on that one nail and would get hurt. For example, if the persons weight were 100 lbs, then this would be like a 100 lb force pushing the nail into the person. Since the nail is sharp, and since the force is big, the nail would easily puncture the person. (Don’t try this at home!). If the person were to lay on a bed of 100 nails then, on average, the force pushing each nail against the person would only be 1 lb. This might still hurt, but would not be as bad. If the person were to lay on a bed of 1000 nails then, on average, the force pushing each nail against the person would only be 1.6 oz, which is much better. You get the idea. I hope that answered your question.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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