Monday, September 28, 2015

Super Research, of the hero variety.

     I chose to use the book The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios. I focused on chapter 5, "Flash Facts-Friction, Drag, and Sound," in this chapter the author explains the physics of The Flash and how plausible his super speed truly is. To begin he starts by discussing friction, specifically Flash running up the side of the building. He describes that while the flash would not have the friction required to run up a building, he could easily leap up the building between steps so long as he maintains the minimum speed required to do so. This, of course, ignores what the author refers to as Flash's "Mirracle Exception" which entails that his body could withstand the forces of running as such high speeds.
     Secondly the author tackles the issue of the flash running on water and using shockwaves to fight enemies. Here he explains that when you encounter a liquid it must move out of the way and the denser the liquid the harder it is for this to be accomplished quickly. The air not very dense compared to water, so the speed at which an object is going for the air to form a pleasure wave is very high. Air molecules move around at the speed of sound (750mph or 1,100ft/sec), when you exceed this the air molecules are pushed in front of you and form a shock front. Thus if the flash is moving faster than the speed of sound he creates a preasure wave in front of him that could theoretically be used to hit a villain. This same principle allows the flash to run across water, when his foot hits the water at incredible speed the water can't move out of the way fast enough and creates a shock front that pushes against his foot. At such speeds the water would behave like a solid. 
    Next the author explores the inability for The Flash to communicate with others while running and vice versa. Since The Flash is moving as such high speeds, the Doppler effect would cause any sound waves that reached him to become compressed as he moved throws them. Additionally, since he is moving beyond the speed of sound he would be moving faster than any sound waves and thus could not hear anything spoke to him from behind or the sides while running. Referring back to sounds he would hear from the front, they would become heavily distorted since the waves become heavily compressed has he moves closer to the point of origin. All this adds up to say that the flash would have to rely on visual communication while running because sound would either be slower than he was or would be compressed and register in a very high pitch. 
      Finally, the Author briefly describes the ability of the flash to grab bullets out of the air. Since the flash is able to move at the same speed as the bullet it would be moving along with him and just like picking up and object in a moving vehicle it would be as simple as grabbing it out of the air.
     The author ends by describing how the flash would have to endure the extreme forces of accelerating to such speeds and decelerating back down over and over again. Which, yes, would kill a non-superhuman.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Armageddon, Armageddoff.

T     The movie Armageddon focuses around a team of rough drillers being roped into saving the planet from an asteroid the size of Texas by an obviously desperate NASA. In the movie NASA recruits a group of very wacky drillers to fly to an asteroid and drill deep around to slide a nuke inside and spit it in half with the resulting explosion. Said explosion would then split the asteroid so that both halves would conveniently miss earth on either side. Aside from the obvious flaws and the even more obvious flaws, they manage to save the earth after Murphy's Law has its way with the crew. True to 90’s fashion the movie is full of big explosions, love and mathematical impossibilities.

     Now however, let's look at an actual plan that the good men and women at real life NASA have come up with to save our planet with actual science rather than Bruce Willis. One proposed idea would be an Asteroid Gravtity Tractor. This method would put a large, heavy space craft matitaining orbit over an asteroid, the ship and the asteroid both gravitationally attract each other, thus if the ship resist the force towards the asteroid the net effect would cause the asteroid to accelerate in the direction of the spacecraft. Such a craft would use a thruster, such as an ion thruster, to counter the gravitational force of the asteroid.

    This method has advantages and disadvantages, it would have to be deployed years in advance in order for the slight change in the asteroids path to achieve the required amount of deflection. This process is certainly slow, but it is steady and reliable. Furthermore this method can work on any asteroid regardless of the asteroids composition, rotational speed, or surface terrain as it does not need to come in contact with the asteroid. A Gravity Tractor may not be as flashy as Bruce Willis, however it could work and probably do it in less time than it took Bruce to push the detonator.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I Want to Erase my Memory of Eraser

     The movie Eraser is about Arnold Schwarzenegger protecting his witness, saving America and looking as badass as the 90's possibly could make him. The icing on the cake is the corrupt cops and insane railguns that are prevalent throughout the movie. As far as the physics go, I sincerely wished they were as accurate as Arnold is manly.
     Regarding the disregard for physics, we can look at the railguns of the movie and their blatant lack of recoil(And mathematical correctness) when fired. The guns supposedly fire aluminum rounds as the speed of light, unfortunately for them Arnold is manly enough to to move faster than light itself. However to analyze the physics of how the movie should have gone we won't be looking at Arnold, but rather a scene involving a unknown shooter and Daryl, the clingy ex-boyfriend who after the fact is clinging to the wall.
     In the scene the shooter fires, hitting Daryl in the chest and sending him flying across the room. let's assume the bullet lodges inside Daryl and transfers all its momentum to him. The math, shown below, shows that not only would Daryl been a smear on the now destroyed wall, but the shooter would have also be reduced to very shady chunks.

     Both the shooter and Daryl would have been sent flying, in what I can assume is a comical fashion, at incredible speeds. The fact of the matter is that they would both be certainly dead and in multiple pieces. I'm sure however that Arnold would have has no trouble handling the actual recoil with his rippling biceps and a snappy one liner...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mission Impossible 3: Physics Questions

     In the first scene I looked at Ethan throws a magnetic explosive and it arcs horizontally across a room and magnetically connects to a metal pipe. I would like to know if, even with a powerful super magnet, it would be possible for the explosive to connect to magnetically atract to the pipe from that distance?
     In order to solve this problem the quantities I would need would be the distance from Ethan to the pipe, how how hard Ethan could throw the bomb and how powerful the magnet (or comparable magnet) would be. 
     I can estimate the pipe was between 15 and 20 feet away. Additionally the average man can throw a baseball sized object, around 60mph. As far as the magnet is concerned, it was hard to pinpoint a definitive power for a super magnet that could be used. 

     The second scene that I wound analyze involves Ethan falling down the wall of the Vatican City and coming safely to a stop when the wire he was connected to snapped taut. I would like to know if Ethan could have safely stopped when the wire snapped taut.
    In order to figure if this could be done I would need to know the height of the wall and the speed Ethan was traveling. 
     The movie gives me the height of the wall at 60ft and Ethan's final velocity could be calculated using the time it took him to fall and the acceleration of gravity.
 
     Finally I would like to examine the scene when Ethan is swinging from one building to the other building's roof so that he can grab the Rabbit's Foot, before base jumping to safety. I want to know if he could perform the indicated swing from one building to the roof other.
    To find out if he could we would need the distance between the buildings as well at the height of both buildings.
    The movie provides all the needed quantities. The distance between the buildings is stated to be 27.55 meters. The height of the first building is 260 meters, while the second is 246 meters tall.