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'Pole Vaulting' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/
The pole vault event consists of these phases:
1. The vaulter stands at the end of the runway holding the pole
2. The runner sprints along the runway as the top of the pole is
moved towards the ground.
3. The pole is planted in the box.
4. The pole flexes and absorbs the energy of the runner.
5. The pole straightens and the runner is propelled up and
(hopefully!) over the bar.
This is a fascinating mechanical process!
Can you draw a sequence of simple pictures which represent the
stages of a pole vault?
Then consider these questions, using appropriate data for the
1. What is the locus of the centre of mass of the athlete during
2. How much kinetic energy does the runner and pole contain just
prior to planting in the box?
3. How efficiently is this converted into potential energy?
There are various levels of sophistication at which this can
be considered - analyse with as much depth as you feel is relevant
and you can use real data (some are provided below) or
approximations. Either is fine, provided that your assumptions and
estimations are clearly stated.
NOTES AND BACKGROUND
You might wish to use the following data:
Pole vaulting world record holders as of January 2011:
Male = 6.14m (Sergey Bubka), Female = 5.06m (Yelena
Lengths of poles vary between 2.3m to 6.4m, with weight rated
Height and weight of vaulters: Sergey Bubka 1.83m/80kg, Yelena
Length of runway: 40m