Published On: Mon, Jul 23rd, 2012

Scientists reveal the secret to staying dry in the rain

A physicist has revealed the secret to keeping dry in the rain – and it is bad news for couch potatoes.

Italian expert Professor Franco Bocci has finally answered the age old question of the best strategy if you are caught in a downpour.

He claims that in most cases, the best strategy is is to run as fast as possible.

‘In general, the best  thing is to run, as  fast as you can – not always, but in general,’  Professor Bocci of the  University of Brescia in Italy told the BBC.

He analysed how rain can affect different  body shapes, and claims that thin people are more likely to stay dry at lower  speeds.

‘If you’re really thin, it’s more probable  that there will be an optimal speed. Otherwise, it’s better to run  fast.’

Franco Bocci, reporting in the European Journal of Physics, now believes that both wind direction and a person’s stature figure have to be taken into account.

‘For motion downwind, there may be an optimal  speed, which equals the component along the direction of motion of the wind  velocity,’ he stated in his paper.

‘This happens only if the ratio between the  cross-section of the body perpendicular to the motion and the horizontal one is  large enough; otherwise, the best choice is again to run at the maximum speed  one can reach.’

The advice is the latest in a surprisingly  long list of research on the subject.

‘The problem of choosing an optimal  strategy  for moving in the rain has attracted considerable attention  among physicists  and other scientists,’ he said.

In the 1970s, a number of papers came out in  mathematics magazines debating the question, each more fully exploring the  issues at hand.

In 1987, another Italian researcher asserted  in the journal that changing strategies did not make a substantial difference to  how wet you get.

In the latest research, in 2011, a textile  expert and a physicist used the suggested that an optimal speed existed,  depending on the wind direction.

However, Professor Bocci believes that  previous attempts to solve the problem simplified it too much.

‘For the most part in the previous work,  there was a simple answer, but I found that the problem is much more  complicated,’ Professor Bocci said.

As well as body shape, wind direction plays a  big part in how wet you get – and if the wind is behind you, the optimal speed  will be exactly the speed of the wind.

(Daily Mail)

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