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Whether it is possible for someone to have so much momentum that they can circle 360 degrees over the top of a swing without stopping is a common debate in playgrounds. It turns out that you can actually swing 360 degrees on a swing…if there are a few specific elements in place.
If there are rigid poles in place of the traditional chains and the swing has a bearing that is able to go all the way round, then it’s possible to complete a full circle, the Mirror reports.
According to Geoffrey Widdison – a chemical engineer- in order to understand this, you have to contemplate the basics of how a swing works.
Mr Widdison said: “Your body wants to fall straight down, and it picks up speed as it does, but the chain won’t let you go straight down, it turns that downward motion into forward (or backward) motion.
“When you hit the lowest point of the swing, you have some forward momentum, which the chain then pulls into upward motion.
“When your momentum is exhausted, you fall back down, and the whole thing repeats.
“If you get to the point where the chain is horizontal, you are at a theoretical maximum. If you go a little bit higher, then you are going to fall straight down, and the chain is going to go slack.
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“When you get to the point where the chain tightens again, your force will jerk against it, and a lot of the kinetic energy will be lost.
“If, however, you are using rigid bars, then you can continue to reuse that energy on each swing, and eventually, if you are good enough, get all the way around.”
Additional reporting by OliviaRose Fox.
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