Pizza-stabilized restaurant tables – a demonstration of restaurant table engineering

PizzaJust returned from a tour of California and came across this piece of engineering at a restaurant at SFO. Sadly, the table designers had chosen to have four points of contact between the table and the floor which is of course a disaster. Apparently, a section of pizza had the correct size and compliance to form a stable interface between the table and the floor. An adjacent table had what seemed like a better design in that a single pole came down from the table to a circular disk base but the base had five points of contact with the floor. A waitress noticed my interest and a more general discussion ensued, causing some hilarity to other patrons. It was explained that I was a nerd (we’d visited CalTech after all) and that seemed to take care of it.

Believe it or not, restaurant table stability is a common subject for discussion here, especially since one of our number is a mechanical engineer and also because we spend too much time at restaurants. So, time to develop a proper (although not very rigorous or perhaps even correct) theory…

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