Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Moving People at CdG

While on travel, I passed through Charles deGaulle airport in Paris, France. The airport has some interesting devices, including a "people mover" -- a moving strip of rubber like a horizontal escalator without steps. It became interesting when the mover entered a plastic tube bent up at an angle to take me to the next terminal. I managed to get a photograph of it. It is shown in the figure at right. If you were building this people mover for the architect, what material would you choose for the surface of the moving strip? (Hint: You want to be sure that people standing on the strip do not tend to slide down it. Figure out what coefficient of friction you need to keep from sliding down and then look up coefficients of friction in tables in reference books to get a material appropriate for the slipperiest shoes.)

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Page last modified October 27, 2002: D33