Projects in High-Speed Photography
Conclusions -- Part I
Let's recall the possible answers that were given to the rubber band puzzle.
The forward end of the band breaks contact ...
a) at the instant the released end of the band is stopped by the rear nail.
b) before the released end stops.
c) after the released end stops.
The previous series of photos would seem to agree with c). The right end of the band appeared to remain in contact with the rear nail for a short time (less than a millisecond) after the left end collided with the front nail. However, a new question arises from examining the photographs.
Does the rear nail have anything to do with the rubber band's breaking contact from the front nail?
This question is prompted by the fact that the longitudinal relaxation of the band precedes any disturbances that are produced by the collision of the left end with the rear nail. A simple way to check this would be to remove the rear nail and repeat the series of photographs. This, in fact, is the next step in this experiment.
Before going on to the next experiment, find out how far the rubber band can stretch beyond the front nail.