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Bed of Nails
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Bed of Nails

Credit: Herbert Ponting
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RGS_13.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Lying on a bed of nails—now that’s got to hurt! Whatever you do, don’t try it at home!

Amazing but True!

  • Lying on a bed of nails is a well-known martial arts “trick.” Watch as a martial artist not only lies on a bed of nails but even has a concrete block broken over his chest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bitfj5ClpM0

  • Is this an example of mind over matter? Or is it just a stage trick?
  • Neither. Now watch as two scientists demonstrate that lying on a bed of nails may not really be as bad as it looks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hG7lGZqWFpM

Can You Apply It?

At the link below, learn the physics behind lying on a bed of nails. Then answer the questions that follow.

  1. What is force? How much force is exerted upward on your body by whatever your body rests on?
  2. What is pressure? How is it related to area?
  3. When you step on a single nail, it pierces your foot. When you lie on a bed of nails, the nails do not even pierce your skin. Explain why.

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Herbert Ponting; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RGS_13.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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