Here is an activity that some of your students may find interesting. The goal is to test the cushioning for various shoes and boots. We measured the acceleration in a “heel drop” of standardized height.


Shoe with accelerometer in heel

We used a 25-g Accelerometer attached to a 500 g mass, placed inside the shoes. We used the 500 g mass that we sell for use with our Vernier Dynamics Carts. This mass works well because it has a hole in it, so it can easily be bolted to the Accelerometer.

The Accelerometer/mass was placed in the heel of the shoe, and the shoe was packed with recycled paper to keep things in place. We rested the tip of the heel of the shoe on a rod attached to a ring stand to standardize the drop distance. With a Logger Pro file set to trigger on an increase in acceleration and a very high data-collection rate, we pushed the shoe off the rod with just enough force to release the shoe.


Rod on ring stand used to standardize heel drop


Shoe in position for drop

Typical drops are shown below. As you might expect, the peak acceleration varies with the shoe type and shoe condition. The most surprising thing is how large the accelerations are for even a drop of just a couple centimeters.

Acceleration data for typical drops