Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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The refrigerator door

My refrigerator has separate shelves on the door for storing bottles as shown in the picture at the right. Thin plastic straps keep the bottles from falling of the door. At one point when I had teenage children living in the house, one of them, under the influence of too much teenage energy and hormones, slammed the door with a bit too much vigor and a heavy bottle broke the strap.

Do you think the bottle would be more likely to break the plastic strap if it is close to the hinge? close to the handle? or doesn't it matter? Explain your answer in terms of the physics we have learned.

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Page last modified October 11, 2002: R08