Wonderful Engineering

Can A Person Die If A Penny Dropped From The Empire State Building Hits Him? Here’s The Answer


The YouTuber MythBusters took it upon themselves to explore if a penny dropped from a skyscraper could be fatal. Interestingly, the experiment proved that getting hit by a penny dropped from a high-rise building would not kill a person. But the intriguing question is that why not?


Image Source: Vincentlaforet


Physics will help us solve this riddle. The terminal velocity (i.e. the max net speed achieved by the coin as it is pulled downwards by the gravitational force while the air resistance or drag resists its downward motion) reached by the penny when dropped from the top of the Empire State Building at a height of 1250 feet comes out to be 30 to 50 miles per hour.

The YouTuber started the experiment by launching a penny at 65 mph to determine the highest speed achievable by the coin. The MythBusters shot the penny with a very high speed so that it was virtually being launched like a bullet. Then, Adam Savage took the penny for the sake of science and lived to tell the tale!

See the video of the experiment below: