The question that was on the minds of many people was whether or not an iPhone could have survived falling 16,000 feet from the airplane without being damaged.
Through social media platforms, there was a flurry of conversation and conjecture on the possibility that the phone might have been still functional and whether or not the phone’s survival might have been incorporated into a marketing effort.
In response to USA TODAY’s inquiry, two scientists provided an explanation of the role that physics might have had in the event.
As part of the science and mathematics education program at the Lawrence Livermore National Institution in California, David Rakestraw, an experienced scientist at the institution, collaborates with students.
The topic of cell phones, iPhone-dropping tests, and the ways in which students can conduct sophisticated studies with their phones is something that he frequently discusses with students.
Rakestraw noted that in this particular scenario, there were at least 3 factors that would have gone in favor of the phone.
At first, makers of mobile phones have been attempting to make their products more durable in light of the fact that our mobile devices are subjected to a significant number of drops from considerably shorter distances.
He stated that phone cases as well as screen protectors are also helpful in protecting a phone in the event that it is dropped. Last but not least, the location of the phone could have been the deciding factor in the outcome.
The cellphone was found how?
Sean Bates, a resident of Vancouver, Washington, claimed on X that he discovered the iPhone in Portland on Sunday. This came following the National Transportation Safety Board’s request that people in the vicinity check for any debris that may have dropped from the jet.
Bates disclosed to a regional television station that he discovered the phone in the vicinity of a road, concealed behind a shrub. In his statement, he mentioned that the mobile device was still operating in airplane mode and that it displayed a baggage claim for the Alaska Airlines aircraft.
Bates handed over the phone to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and on Monday, Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the safety board, sent a message to Bates on X expressing gratitude for his assistance.
At that time, neither the specific version of the phone nor the manufacturer of the cover was known.
The phone remained operational. How?
When something that has motion is dropped, it possesses momentum, which is defined as the product of its mass and its velocity, according to Rakestraw. When the thing stops and what causes it to halt are the key factors to consider.
By way of comparison, he likened it to falling on a cushion as opposed to striking a brick wall. In comparison to the brick wall, the pillow lessens the force of the hit over an extended amount of time.
Airbags are installed in consumer trucks and cars with the purpose of absorbing force and gradually decreasing the effect of an accident.
Additionally, it is for this reason that racetracks include Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers to safeguard drivers: these barriers absorb and reduce the amount of energy that is released when a race car collides with a wall.
He stated that the material used to make phone cases is one that flexes and yields when subjected to impact. It has the capacity to break down a little bit,” the speaker said.