Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ants do not get hurt when they fall. Why?

The fall of a body is controlled mainly by gravitational attraction of the Earth. The gravitational force depends on the mass of the falling object-a heavier object is attracted more than a lighter object. This attractive force is opposed by an upward thrust (resistance) offered by air on the body. This resistance also depends on the surface area of the object. That is, if the surface area is more, the resistance is also more. Thus in any falling object, these two forces compete with each other.

In the case of an ant, the force of gravity is almost balanced by air resistance and so it is able to land safely. If there is a wind blowing, ants also float away. However, if a cluster of ants or a big ant is forcibly hurled to the ground, they will get hurt. Anyway, it will be difficult to know whether the ant gets hurt or not.