Banana skins and rabbit cartilage mucus – with an Ig Nobel connection

Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Kensei Tanaka, Daichi Uchijima and Rina Sakai, were jointly awarded the 2014 Ig Nobel Physics Prize for measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that’s on the floor.

REFERENCE: “Frictional Coefficient under Banana Skin,”, Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Kensei Tanaka, Daichi Uchijima and Rina Sakai, Tribology Online 7, no. 3, 2012, pp. 147-151.

Subsequently, in 2016, the team gave a detailed account of how their research work into slipperiness developed, how it lead to the Ig Nobel Prize, and then on to studies of rabbit tibia cartilage mucous.

“After receiving the Ig Nobel Prize, I looked back on the initiation of my research on banana peels, and discussed the association between joint lubrication and the slipperiness of banana peels again. I recognized the fact that mucus plays the primary role in both of them.”

The team’s open-access paper can be read in full here : ‘Ig Nobel Prize-winning episode: Trip from a slip on a banana peel to the mysterious world of mucus’ in Biosurface and Biotribology, Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2016, Pages 81-85

[ Research research by Martin Gardiner ]