I was at work recently pulling around some pallets when I had a thought. I wanted to know if the mass of the pallet had any influence on how likely it is for the pallet to topple over when going around a corner. I'm assuming that their shape, size, centre of mass etc is the same, as well as moving at the same speed and around the same corner.
I approached this from looking at it from the frame of the pallet and accounted for the centrifugal force (fake gravity acting horizontally) and the real gravitational force acting down, both through their centre of mass of course. I figured that so long as the resulting vector doesn't point beyond the pivot point then it won't topple, just like with a stationary object that is being tilted.
So all my reasoning tells me that the mass is irrelevant and both should be equally likely start toppling. When I try to test this though my prediction is shown to be false. I tried placing two identical objects with different masses onto an incline and gradually tilted them together to see if they started to topple together and I found that in every case (using different sets of two objects such as one empty bottle and one full bottle of the same shape, size etc) the lighter object always tipped over first. In fact I always had to tip the heavier object considerably more in order to get it to tip over. So is my reasoning just wrong or is there some other reason why my experiment disagrees with me?
Also even if they are equally likely to start toppling together, will one topple faster?