Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Restroom paper towels

In public restrooms there are often paper towel dispensers that require you to pull downward on the towel to extract it. If your hands are wet and you are pulling with one hand, the towel often rips. When you pull with both hands, the towel can be extracted without tearing. Explain why.

Paper Towel Dispenser

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Page last modified October 30, 2002: M04