We all know what will probably happen to us if we have the misfortune of stepping on a banana peel; we will end up lying on the floor with a sore bottom. But does anyone know the reason why?
Kiyoshi Mabuchi and his Japanese team decided to do some research on the subject by measuring the friction of banana skins in the lab and demonstrated why other fruit skins (such as orange and apple’s) aren't as perilous.
The Japanese scientists were awarded with the physics Ig Nobel for their research. Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the famous Nobel Prizes and are organized every year by the scientific humour magazine Annals of Improbable Science (AIR). Prizes are given out in an annual ceremony early in October at Harvard University and they honour research that “first makes people laugh and then makes them think”.
Although, at first, the investigation may seem slightly absurd and meaningless, it actually has much more to it than we would have ever thought. The team are interested in how lubrication and friction affect the movement of our limbs. What gives banana skins their slippery properties are polysaccharide follicular gels, which are also present in the membranes where our bones meet. They believe that this concept may be useful and relevant in devising a joint prosthesis.
If you are interested, information on all 2014 winners is available in the following link:Ig Nobel winners 2014 . There are very interesting and surprising projects worth giving a look!