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Friday, July 07, 2006

Playing in the sand


Hey guess what I did last night?

Nope. Didn't go out.

Nope. Didn't finish a book.

Nope. Didn't give George & Henry a million kisses.

Ha ha! Just kidding about that last one. I have them exactly one million kisses last night before going to bed.

No, really. We went shopping (if you would like to buy me a present, this and this would be great...both in size 2) and out to dinner and then to kept up the tradition of just why the University of Chicago's motto is 'Where Fun Comes to Die'.

That being getting REALLY excited about a physics project at 11 p.m. on Thursday night. See those balls being dropped into sand in the pictures? Looks fun, huh? Well you can actually do that at home with baking powder in a cylindrical vessel long enough to drop a marble & the powder to not just splash right out. The cool thing about it is that the solid granules are acting like a liquid by shooting up a jet after the object lands in the substance (ultra-fine sand, baking powder...).

Anyhow, last night some friends dropped a 12 lb shotput down 5 flights of the Frank Institute to land in a drum of sand. Now, they could have little by little began making the scale larger but since they're living on the edge, they went balls out. All the way. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife. And at last, about 11:15 they dropped the ball. 1...2...3...4...5...6...NO JET. Damn. So we all moped around & went home. Yeah, it was a little sad but they're going to keep trying.

Okay, gotta go work some more.

7 Comments:

Blogger Captain Bee said...

That's actually really interesting.

Any more pictures?

3:16 PM

 
Blogger screetus said...

Well, it's good to have goals. Ball-related goals.

11:23 PM

 
Blogger The Innominate Blogger said...

which begs the question; what is the difference between a liquid and a collection of particles whose individual volumes are dwarfed by the volome of the collection?

6:01 AM

 
Blogger The Innominate Blogger said...

uuuh, I mean volume

6:01 AM

 
Anonymous physics john said...

Hi, I'm one of the guys involved with the experiment. We eventually got a small jet. turns out we had to use a lighter medium (pieces of corn cobs) and drop the ball from a lower height. when we dropped the ball from the 5th floor, it was moving so fast that stuff was getting sucked in behind the ball and messing up the jet. Should have some nice pictures and movies on the web soon.

The Innominate Blogger: That is a very good question that gets to the heart of the mystery behind granular materials (like sand). Normal liquids made up of molecules are generally well understood We have equations to describe how they flow, exert pressure on contianers, ... Sand, even though it is made up of a collection of very small particles, can act very different from a normal liquid. You can pile up sand, but liquids will always flow away to conform to the shap of the contianer. You cannot walk on a liquid, unless you make it a solid by freezng it. This a very distinct transition into a different state of matter. However, you can walk along the beach without sinking in, and still pick up a handfull of sand and pour it like a liquid. There is a lot of research going on trying to understand how grains flow and when they will behave like liquids or solids. Sorry for such a long post. Feel free to ask more questions.

shameless hype: http://jfi.uchicago.edu/~jaeger/granular2/jets.html

12:53 PM

 
Blogger Conti said...

You're a size 2? Skiiinnny hotttieeeeee

3:23 PM

 
Blogger Marisa said...

OH, I love this geeky post!

That, and the fact that it includes links to clothing from Ann Taylor Loft, tron, you're my kind of girl.

1:28 AM

 

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