SciencePhysicists work out exactly when fruit display will come...

Physicists work out exactly when fruit display will come tumbling down


Computer simulations reveal the precise conditions when removing an orange from a display would cause a fruit avalanche



Physics



19 June 2022

Fruit display in a street market

A fruit avalanche could happen at any moment

Giancarlo Liguori / Alamy Stock Photo

How many oranges can you remove from an angled fruit display before they all tumble down in a fruit avalanche? For 2370 of them, at an angle of 20 degrees with respect to the horizontal, the answer is 190 oranges.

This is one of the results of a series of simulations to work out under what conditions a fruit display will come tumbling down, run by Pablo Gutierrez at O’Higgins University in Chile and his team. “I hear colleagues talk about avalanches …



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