I doubt that The Flintstones had the paved roads of today, so a first guess at the roughness of the road Fred is braking on would be a bit higher than the values we have on highways: around 0.7-0.9. Now that we have all the numbers, all we have to do is plug them in. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. Images: Screenshot from Flintstones opening credits; Airplane landing gear from Airlinesafety.com. But what if Fred’s feet weren’t indestructible? Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. For the sake of estimation, we could assume the rest of the car, made of tarp and wood, weighs and additional 50 kilograms (110 pounds). That’s not too bad considering his bunions are brake pads. Fred moves his wheels under his own power, but I wouldn’t guess he could go too fast. When a material can’t handle the friction, the result is catastrophic heating and disintegration. Much like how your car’s brake pads work, Fred’s feet absorb all the frictional forces until the stones stop rolling. It has been studied for human skin [PDF], but what we are really looking for is the roughness of the road; how much resistance Fred’s feet would meet. With heels screeching and smoking, Fred famously uses his own feet to stop his forward momentum. WhaaaaaaT? On a list of those unusable materials is certainly human skin. Using your bare feet as brakes is a yabba dabba don’t.

I’ll give Fred the benefit of the doubt and say his top speed is 25 miles per hour. Much like how your car’s brake pads work, Fred’s feet absorb all the frictional forces until the stones stop rolling. That’s not too bad considering his bunions are brake pads. For the sake of estimation, we could assume the rest of the car, made of tarp and wood, weighs and additional 50 kilograms (110 pounds). 6 hours ago — Chelsea Harvey and E&E News, 6 hours ago — Matthew W. Johnson and David B. Yaden | Opinion, 10 hours ago — Jeffery DelViscio and Timothy Weaver. It has been studied for human skin [PDF], but what we are really looking for is the roughness of the road; how much resistance Fred’s feet would meet. Mind you, some people do just have gross feet.

He manages Nature Education's Student Voices blog, is a research fellow with the James Randi Educational foundation, and you can follow him on Twitter under the name @Sci_Phile. So we have the weight, now we need the speed. I doubt that The Flintstones had the paved roads of today, so a first guess at the roughness of the road Fred is braking on would be a bit higher than the values we have on highways: around 0.7-0.9. The worst-case is much more likely. On a list of those unusable materials is certainly human skin. All this is assuming of course that the car itself would hold together for more than a few feet. Now that we have all the numbers, all we have to do is plug them in. I hope that the father of the "modern Stone Age family" has thick skin, or else he is going to lose his legs. If they were one and a half meters long and 80 centimeters in diameter—like huge stone rolling pins—they would be about 360 kilograms (~795 pounds) each.

Here’s How They Make It in the Urban Jungle. When a material can’t handle the friction, the result is catastrophic heating and disintegration. So we have the weight, now we need the speed. So all in all Fred must use his heels to stop an 865-kilogram (1910 pound) rockmobile. The Physics of Fred Flintstone's Flaming Feet I hope that the father of the "modern Stone Age family" has thick skin, or else he is going to lose his legs. (Note that this is much lighter than cars today due to their metal frames, engines, and other components.). But just how much force would his feet need to apply, and what would happen to them? Most of the car’s mass is going to be bound up in the huge rock rollers at the front and back. Engineers today have developed brakes that can take huge amounts of heat and stress precisely because other materials would fail under such strenuous conditions. If Fred pressed and held his feet to the ground, he would most likely lose them. But that’s not all pressing down on the road Fred has to stop on. (Note that this is much lighter than cars today due to their metal frames, engines, and other components.) Engineers today have developed brakes that can take huge amounts of heat and stress precisely because other materials would fail under such strenuous conditions. What is much more interesting is the way he stops his caveman car. But that’s not all pressing down on the road Fred has to stop on. As an engineer, I have no idea how a forward-moving car keeps a rear wheel on that has no backstop. Fred moves his wheels under his own power, but I wouldn’t guess he could go too fast. The force of friction on his feet would be twice the bite force of a large American alligator, so I don’t think his toes would take it too well. On a list of those unusable materials is certainly human skin. Sadly, we know this would happen because of the unfortunate cases where people’s feet are run over by cars (study link includes some graphic images). The best-case scenario for Fred’s feet is that they incur a mild “road rash”–the kind of abrasions and burns that motorcyclists and bikers get when they skid along the ground at speed. The best-case scenario for Fred’s feet is that they incur a mild “road rash”—the kind of abrasions and burns that motorcyclists and bikers get when they skid along the ground at speed. If Fred pressed and held his feet to the ground, he would most likely lose them. Could the Boston Bomber Have Fled from Infrared? Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition. He has a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering and a master's degree in communication research (with a focus on science, health, and the environment) from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This one was relitively quick (a couple hours) and I think looks pretty decent. There is no way a chubby caveman could get a hunk of granite going that fast with only his legs, and even average highway speeds seem out of the question. Images: Screenshot from Flintstones opening credits; Airplane landing gear from Airlinesafety.com, Decoding Cuneiform, One of the Earliest Forms of Writing, Parrots Live in New York City. I like simple to make costumes because I normally put one together last minute. The force of friction on his feet would be twice the bite force of a large American alligator, so I don’t think his toes would take it too well. Want it all? So all in all Fred must use his heels to stop an 865-kilogram (1910 pound) rockmobile. There is no way a chubby caveman could get a hunk of granite going that fast with only his legs, and even average highway speeds seem out of the question. Discover world-changing science. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. Heavy loads encounter more friction, so next we have to estimate the weight of Fred’s famous rockmobile (replicas are for sale, by the way). I’ll give Fred the benefit of the doubt and say his top speed is 25 miles per hour. To put it another way, it would be like standing on a belt sander, with an adolescent African elephant on your back. Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. So all in all Fred must use his heels to stop an 865-kilogram (1910 pound) rockmobile. As an engineer, I have no idea how a forward-moving car keeps a rear wheel on that has no backstop. © 2020 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology.

As the cases of coronavirus continue occurring around the world , we are seeing an increase in people with “Flintstone” feet and I believe it is also a consequence of the pandemic. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, What Mushroom Clouds Can Reveal about the Waco Explosion. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, Lessons from Smallpox Guide Polio Endgame, TED Education Wants Your Help Bringing Cool Science to the Classroom, higher than the values we have on highways, Batman and the Joker sliding on the floor here, Why You Should Envy, But Not Worship Sherlock Holmes, By Larry Brilliant and William Foege on April 22, 2013.



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