Physicists Say Batman's Cape-Gliding Would Probably Kill Him

Physicists Say Batman's Cape-Gliding Would Probably Kill Him

Jul 10, 2012

Ah science – we love you for all the amazing things you do, but occasionally you can be a bit of a downer. Take, for instance, this new paper from a group of physics students at the University of Leicester – which postulates that Batman couldn’t really glide around from Gotham’s skyscrapers without killing himself in the process. 

Physicists Reveal Batman's Cape-Gliding Would Probably Kill Him

Four student physicists at the school have recently published a paper titled “The Trajectory of a Falling Batman,” which used mathematical simulations to study the Dark Knight’s ability to use his cape as a gliding mechanism to help him travel around Gotham at great speed. The results aren’t so pretty. While Batman could certainly glide on his cape like a bat, sticking the landings would be a potentially life-ending undertaking according to their research.

The study gave Batman a cape with a 15-foot wingspan and assumed he was jumping off a building 492 feet above the ground. According to their calculations, Batman would travel roughly 1,148 feet in that scenario – not too shabby. The problem is that during that journey, Batman would reach a top speed of 68 miles per hour and would still be cruising along at 50 mph when he landed. If the sudden stop didn’t kill him, it seems likely that he’d have a few broken bones.

We’re no physicists, so we can’t exactly debate the veracity of this report – but it seems fairly logical at first glance. Batman could glide around in a safer fashion – but he’d need a bigger cape or a parachute or some kind of system to aid in deceleration before landing. If you’d like to check out the full report, along with the mathematical computations used to arrive at the conclusion, you can find the paper here. In the meantime, we’re just going to pretend this research doesn’t exist so we can enjoy The Dark Knight Rises without letting reality interfere too much. 

[via Blastr]

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