Given all of the electronic gadgets in my life, I end up carrying quite a few cables and power adapters around with me. Somehow these things always end up in a tangled mess inside by backpack/computer bag. It often takes me days to untangle them after a trip. Although annoying, I didn’t really give it too much thought as it just seemed part of having all these gadgets.
This weekend, I decided to apply the scientific method to aid in my understanding of how these cords get tangled. I did a controlled experiment using two USB cables carefully laid on a flat surface a few centimeters apart:
I left the cables in a locked room, with windows closed so that wind or other outside forces could influence the outcome. The above photograph was recorded at 9 PM on Day 1.
The next morning, I returned to the room and verified that the door was still locked and that nothing had been disturbed. To my surprise, I found the two cables in this condition, recorded by photograph at 9 AM on Day 2:
Apparently, the cables are able to move on their own and create a tangled mess without human intervention. There must be some physical force present that causes this movement, perhaps the triboelectric effect? I will need to repeat this experiment, perhaps with a video camera capturing any movement.
Has anyone else produced similar results?
- 73, Bob K0NR