Two physicists, Dominic Vella and L. Mahadevan both sacrificed an item from their homes for their work. Dominic Vella cut his bathroom rug into strips and Mahadevan used his bookshelf. They used these items to get enough information to learn more about the physics of lumpy carpets. Their results describe how wrinkles in rugs form, how they move, and what happens when they interact. The way a ruck moves across the floor has been compared to how tectonic plates move. Friction makes it hard to move a large piece of carpet, but when there is a wrinkle in the carpet, it can slide down with makes it easier to move the carpet. Vella’s team studied the forms that the bumps take, how wellthey hold that shape, and how fast they move across a flat surface. They used a variety of surfaces including wood, sandpaper, and metal. They took rubber mats of different thicknesses and tested them on the three surfaces. After they observing that, they compared it to the behavior of Vella’s bathroom rug on the same surfaces. According to their observations, larger wrinkles have an easier time supporting themselves no matter what kind of surface it is on. Smaller wrinkles smooth out pretty quickly unless there is a lot of friction holding them up. Moving bumps travel at around one meter per second for most carpet types, but smaller ones move faster than larger ones. And when two wrinkles collide, they make an even bigger one that moves faster. Mahadevan’s team looked into how gravity pulls a wrinkle down a ramp. This is what he did. He placed a wrinkled rubber sheet on his bookshelf and tilted it until the wrinkle startedrolling on its own. After observing that, he found the bump’s speed, shape, and angles.
So, these scientists spent their valuable time learning about carpet.