N. Corbin, J. A. Hanna, W. Royston, H. Singh, and R. Warner
We explore a surprising phenomenon in which an obstruction accelerates, rather than decelerates, a moving flexible object. It has been claimed that the right kind of discrete chain falling onto a table falls faster than a free-falling body. We confirm and quantify this effect, reveal its complicated dependence on angle of incidence, and identify multiple operative mechanisms. Prior theories for direct impact onto flat surfaces, which involve a single constitutive parameter, match our data well if we account for a characteristic delay length that must impinge before the onset of excess acceleration. Our measurements provide a robust determination of this parameter.