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Coriolis or Crubbish ?

30th January 2021 @ 6:06am – by Webteam
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Some express doubt about the Coriolis Effect influencing the direction of spin of water going down plugholes or in our case canal holes

Students at University have long debated whether the Coriolis Effect, which undoubtably exists could be extended to determine in which direction water went down plugholes ( and canals ?)

It is believed that the Coriolis Effect and thus the direction of water spin down a plughole derives from the very real Coriolis Force.

As the Earth rotates from west to east, points at different latitudes move at different velocities. Stand at the equator, for example, and you will be carried the distance of the circumference of the Earth every 24 hours, travelling at around 1000 miles per hour. Stand about 700 yards from the North Pole and you'll travel this small circle once a day at a speed of just 0.1 miles per hour.

Some peculiar effects result.
If a cannon ball is fired from the equator at a target exactly north of it, the ball will actually be moving eastward at 1000 miles per hour (as is the cannon and everything else at the equator) when it leavesthe cannon's mouth. Its target to the north will be moving eastward more slowly, however, and so the ball will land to the east of its target.

A formula for this Coriolis Force is shown opposite for those who care about understanding the mathematics. ( not derived by the webteam you understand!)

This Coriolis effect makes the navigation of fast-flying planes, missiles and sniper shots more difficult and influences the circulation patterns of oceans and the path and rotation of storms.

Contrary to popular belief, however, it is believed to be far too small to influence water going down the average plughole in a bathtub or perhaps even in a canal

For more information about an Australian experiment published in the New Scientist follow this link.

Note from AoL Science Correspondent

Of course now that we have "got Brexit done", the units used in the calculation of the Coriolis Force are mass in lbs and oz and velocities in feet per second. Inevitably this leads to the answer to the calculation being 42 (what else?).

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