Water Fountain Physics

By: Ethan Jasny (Grade 10)

Taking a look at the finest water fountains WPGA has to offer…

You’ve just finished a long and difficult test. You’re absolutely parched and dehydrated, but you only have five minutes to get to your next class and you already have two late slips on the term. Most people would run to the nearest water fountain. But does that water fountain have a high exit velocity? Is its launch angle greater than 60o? What is the water flow’s maximum height? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself and can now answer with this in-depth guide to WPGA’s water fountains.

 

200 Level Fountain, “Old Faithful”

This is the oldest fountain in the Senior School. It functions by pressing the metal button on the bubbler (the squirty bit) and is accessed by putting your head inside the white main frame which is embedded in the wall. By taking measurements of the fountain and using the Kinematic Equations to find other variables, I found the following key values:

 

Maximum Height: 5.5 cm

Horizontal Distance: 6 cm

Launch Angle: 70o

Exit Velocity: 0.8 m/s

 

The arc of the fountain’s water flow is quite small, meaning that there is little time or space to drink the water. Additionally, at such a slow velocity, the water flow is barely moving by the time it reaches your mouth, making this a slow drinking experience.

 

100 Level Fountain, “The Newbie”

This fountain, a recent grad legacy gift, is one of the newest models of water fountain. It extends out of the wall and has no barriers, using buttons on the side of the drain to initiate waterflow. Here are the details:

 

Maximum Height: 12 cm

Horizontal Distance: 20.5 cm

Launch Angle: 60o

Exit Velocity: 1.4 m/s

 

This fountain has the largest arc in the school, making it very accessible. Its exit velocity and launch angle are perfect for maintaining a steady intake of water for a longer period of time.

 

Change Room Gym Fountain, “The Hot Shot”

Located right next to the change rooms, this is a popular fountain for those in PE. It is another one of the newer models of water fountain that was recently under renovation. It is also controlled using buttons on the side drains. Here is more information:

 

Maximum Height: 20 cm

Horizontal Distance: 17.5 cm

Launch Angle 80o

Exit Velocity: 2.3 m/s

 

This fountain’s stream, with the largest maximum height, launch angle, and velocity, shoots almost directly up at high speeds. This allows for the greatest possible intake of water but is also unsustainable. After a while, the body is no longer able to swallow the massive amounts of water shooting up from the fountain.

 

To conclude, here’s when you should use each water fountain:

 

Use The Newbie if:

  • You are really dehydrated and need a lot of water
  • You are stalling for time to stay out of class
  • You want to brag to your friends about using what’s new in water fountains

 

Use The Hot Shot if:

  • You need a quick dose of water
  • You are playing some sport and are given a “20 second” water break
  • You want to know how it would feel to spray your mouth with a water gun, but are too afraid to use an actual water gun, so you decide to test it out with a water fountain instead

 

Use Old Faithful if:

  • You want a terrible water fountain experience

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