Today’s installment of Tech Tuesday has been a long time coming. Ellie has demanded I take a look at one of the best inventions ever created. The Centrifugal Force Generator, a.k.a., the Bathing Suit Dryer.
If you’ve ever been in a kitchen full of unitaskers, you have probably seen a salad spinner. The idea is that excess moisture can rapidly be “spun off” the lettuce or spinach, leaving you with freshly cleaned and ready-to-eat salad. It works by having a perforated, internal-membrane basket where liquid can pass through, while keeping the lettuce contained inside it. This, and more importantly the bathing-suit dryer at your local gym or spa, works by harnessing the power of centrifugal force.
Briefly (as I am not by any stretch of the imagination an expert or even remotely qualified to discuss physics), when objects rotate around a set point, there is a force at work that draws the object away from the center; that is, it spins off into space and breaks its orbit. In the case of our bathing suits and salads, as the machines spin faster and faster, the water is flung off through the perforated side walls and theoretically drained off, thus leaving nice and dry dinner to eat or bathing suits to put away.
This technology is used all over the place, from the simple salad spinner to our very own planet as it orbits around the sun. For all your beer-drinking, sports-loving fans, banked curves at your favorite NASCAR track are designed to allow drivers to maximize their speed and rocket around the track without being flung into the guard walls.
It is amazing to think about how ordinary objects you interact with on a daily basis can have fundamental roots in the complex sciences. Think about the forces at work next time you go and do something. Think about the amount of research and development ordinary objects probably took before they became what we know and love.
Take home message? Using a little bit of physics can make the world a slightly less chafed place. And for that, I am truly thankful.