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Question

Use Newton's second law of motion to explain the following:
(a) A cricketer pulls his hands back while catching a fast moving cricket ball.
(b) An athlete prefers to land on sand instead of hard floor while taking a high jump.

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Solution

(a) We pull our hands back while catching a fast moving cricket ball, because by doing so, we increase the time of catch, i.e. increase the time to bring about a given change in momentum, and hence, the rate of change of momentum decreases. Thus, a small force is exerted on our hands by the ball.

(b) When an athlete lands from a height on a hard floor, his feet comes to rest instantaneously, so a very large force is exerted by the floor on his feet, but if he lands on sand, his feet push the sand for some distance; therefore, the time duration in which his feet comes to rest increases. As a result, the force exerted on his feet decreases and he is saved from getting hurt.


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