Video: Phone book physics

January 15, 2016

Myth-buster fans have likely heard of the phenomenon of interlocking pages of two phonebooks and discovering that they are impossible to pull apart.

Physicist Kari Dalnoki-Veress, along with colleagues in France, have researched this enigma that has long been known, but finally have an explanation as to why it happens.

Dalnoki-Veress organized an experiment on campus with books and recruited students to help him demonstrate the strength.

What happened?

The friction created by the pulling and the angle of the  keeps the books interlocked and inseparable.

The video will load shortly

The harder you pull, the greater the force of .

The application of this science can help researchers understand complex intertwined systems, such as textiles or .

Explore further: Researchers explain why it's nearly impossible to separate two interleaved phonebooks

Related Stories

Lifting a car with two phone books

December 16, 2015

Astonishingly, it turns out to be practically impossible to separate two interleaved phone books by pulling on their spines, however much force is applied. It is even possible to suspend a car from them.

Finnish researchers find explanation for sliding friction

May 29, 2012

Friction is a key phenomenon in applied physics, whose origin has been studied for centuries. Until now, it has been understood that mechanical wear-resistance and fluid lubrication affect friction, but the fundamental origin ...

Recommended for you

Uncovering the secrets of water and ice as materials

December 7, 2016

Water is vital to life on Earth and its importance simply can't be overstated—it's also deeply rooted within our conscience that there's something extremely special about it. Yet, from a scientific point of view, much remains ...

Blocks of ice demonstrate levitated and directed motion

December 7, 2016

Resembling the Leidenfrost effect seen in rapidly boiling water droplets, a disk of ice becomes highly mobile due to a levitating layer of water between it and the smooth surface on which it rests and melts. The otherwise ...

The case for co-decaying dark matter

December 5, 2016

(—There isn't as much dark matter around today as there used to be. According to one of the most popular models of dark matter, the universe contained much more dark matter early on when the temperature was hotter. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.