Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: What happens after a treadmill power failure?

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 04/05/2016
Q:
There is a debate in our office about what will happen if running full speed on a treadmill (with no front guard or controls), and the belt comes to a sudden stop. Do you:1. Run full speed off of the end of the treadmill.2. Fall forward off of the treadmill.3. Fall off of the front of the treadmill onto your back.
- Joey Fields (age 28)
Middletown OH USA
A:

Hi Joey,

Great question!  

Your net momentum in the room reference frame is zero.   So you are not going to fall off the front or the back of the treadmill.   I presume the treadmill is tilted at a slight angle so as to give the impression of running a bit uphill.   When the treadmill stops,  you will feel a slight force tilting you to the rear.   You might stumble a bit but it shouldn't be too hard to keep your balance.

LeeH

 


(published on 04/05/2016)

Follow-up on this answer.