Science-based what-if questions

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Re: Core orbiting planet.

Postby SDK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:14 pm UTC

Image

What exactly is below the crust is still quite a mystery...
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Re: Core orbiting planet.

Postby Xenomortis » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:25 pm UTC

Magmar, obviously.
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Re: Core orbiting planet.

Postby PeteP » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:33 pm UTC

SDK wrote:Image

What exactly is below the crust is still quite a mystery...

That is kinda pretty, what is the source?

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Re: Core orbiting planet.

Postby SDK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:52 pm UTC

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Glass planet.

Postby andykhang » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:59 pm UTC

What happen if suddenly everything on earth is made of crystal clear glass?

Bonus question: What about the Solar System, the galaxy?

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Re: Glass planet.

Postby ijuin » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:09 pm UTC

What chemical composition of glass are you speaking of? Soda-lime glass? Aluminosilicate glass? Fused quartz?

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Science-based what-if questions

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:09 pm UTC

Currently this is a merger of andykhang's questions, but in general other one-off what if questions about science things can go here from now on.
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Re: Glass Planet

Postby andykhang » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:59 pm UTC

What about all of them?

And... Seriously?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:46 pm UTC

What about all of what?

And yes, seriously.
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:31 am UTC

The glass, I'm replying to the above. What would happen with each of those type.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:01 am UTC

By mass or by volume?
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:34 pm UTC

I just ask for the entire planet to suddenly be made of glass. What does mass and volume do?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby doogly » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:42 pm UTC

When you say "the entire planet," do you mean that every kg of not-glass is turned into 1 kg of glass, or that every liter of not-glass is turned into glass?

Either way it is impossible to draw meaningful scientific conclusions from an inherently ridiculous base scenario. The transformation relies on magic, and if you introduce magic, you can conclude anything you like.

Do you just mean, what is an earth sized ball of glass like? It is unstable, it cannot support its gravitational pressure.
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:39 pm UTC

I would assume the question about just Earth is meant to be by volume, but doing that for the whole solar system would wreak havoc on the orbits of everything. If you convert by mass, everything stays in the same orbits but sizes will change drastically.

Either way, you need to specify more details or your magical transformation or at least provide some context for the question.
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:53 pm UTC

What would you say you're trying to get at with this scenario, andykhang? What makes it an interesting question for you?
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:54 am UTC

OOhhhh.... Then how about both of these senario?

I don't know, something that have to do with basically transforming them into a giant, transparent disco ball in the vastness of the galaxy. There would seriously be some interesting light pattern (not to mention the physics...)

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:36 pm UTC

AFAIK a sun sized ball of glass would gravitational contract, that would heat it and it would become plasma on the inside. AFAIK this would not cause enough heat to start significant fusion for the rather heavy elements in most, if not all, types of glass. The sphere would slowly cool to thermal equilibrium with CMB (about 2.7K at the moment).
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:25 pm UTC

What about just Earth alone though, the Sun shouldn't be affected then.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:42 pm UTC

It'd be green instead of blue.
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby ijuin » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:07 pm UTC

All right, let's assume that we are using some form of silicate-based glass--the relevant physical properties for our scenario don't vary a lot between the common varieties of silicate glass. You can see a table of these properties at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... s_of_glass if you want more precision.

So, first of all is the gravity issue. Silicate glasses have a density of around 2.2-2.5 g/cm^3, which is about half the average density of Earth. Thus, Earth, or any other metal-heavy body in the Solar System converted into glass would see a reduction in density, (and therefore mass if diameter is kept the same). Very low-density bodies (those made mostly of ice, such as the moons of many outer planets, and most Kuiper belt objects, as well as the planet Saturn) would see their masses increase. Assuming that the Sun is unaltered, this should do very little to planetary orbits, since those are dominated by solar gravity, but many moons will find themselves flying away from their planets (Luna), or crashing into their planets (Saturn's moons).

As noted by Neil, if the Sun were changed into silicate glass, fusion would cease, since the Sun is not massive enough to conduct fusion without free protons or alpha particles (i.e. hydrogen or helium nuclei). It would collapse into a silicon-oxygen white dwarf.

Now, as for the optical properties of such planets and moons, while we might imagine a glass planet to be a sparkling crystal through which sunlight would pass mostly unimpeded, all glasses (and indeed, all substances made of protons, and electrons) absorb some amount of light as it passes through. The most transparent silica glasses known, the ones used for optical fibers, have a light absorption of about 0.2 dB per kilometer ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_fiber#Materials ). In other words, every fifty kilometers, the amount of light left unabsorbed would decrease by a factor of ten. Thus, beyond the top few hundred kilometers, there would be virtually no light, and the deep interiors of our glass worlds would be dark, a lightless core surrounded by a bright, shining crust layer. If one were to sit in the shadow of a glass Earth from tens or hundreds of thousands of kilometers distance, one would see the sunlight transmitted and refracted through the outer layers at the planet's rim, making for a glowing circle that dims at its inner edge where the light is absorbed by the greater depth.

Smaller bodies, such as large asteroids or small moons however, would be "thin" enough that light could shine all of the way through, and here we would have the celestial crystal orbs that the OP may have been imagining.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:18 am UTC

What about the fracture that come from the different of heat from both side though (and probably the tide)? Since everything is made of glass already, there would be no asmosphere too. And what about the natural concentration of light as some distance due to it bend when go through it?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby ijuin » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:29 am UTC

Glass is not entirely inelastic--optical fibers can bend quite readily without breaking. The thermal expansion and contraction from the day/night cycle and season cycles should be low enough, especially given their relative slowness (it's the extremely rapid cooling that shatters glass when you put water on heated glass. If it cooled down over hours instead of seconds or milliseconds, then the stress is reduced by the same factor as the increase in time to cool).

As for tidal cycles, the Moon raises a tidal bulge of 50-60 cm on the Earth. Again, this is inconsequential compared to the overall elasticity of the planet-sized glass orb. Tides would be a much greater problem for the Galilean moons of Jupiter, or for Mercury with its proximity to the Sun and high eccentricity.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby HES » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:58 am UTC

ijuin wrote:it's the extremely rapid cooling that shatters glass when you put water on heated glass

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:42 pm UTC

What about the pole though? And also the core of the planet that withstand massive stress?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:28 pm UTC

(The pole? What's special about the pole?)

In the depths of the core, the pressures are from all around. There's no 'room' for it to shatter from the forces, it will deform and compress and doubtless (if it isn't already) heat up to make it even more likely to flex, if not flow, as it is pressed into a denser form. (Assuming not already magycked into whatever state of equilibreum the glass-replacement matter is destined to head towards.) Any slump of the overlying material will probably be taken up by the overlying layers flexing and adjusting, likewise, although surface features (e.g. constructed bridges) may well be beyond structural limits, even assuming a solid base beneath them, and while our transformation into homogenous solid material (where not homogonenously semi-molten?) and presumably grossly smoothed out temperature gradients will probably reset all existing plate techtonics and stresses, it's odds on (depending on scenario) how even natural surface terrain features will last as everything 'settles', with oceanic features (all seawater all changed to glass, yes?) perhaps remaining unchanged far more than sheer mountain peaks, where any stresses and flexing might precipitate changes. But while some prior hard-rock features might suffer damage in glass form, a mass of glass can probably withstand gravity more than topsoil, dune-sand, scree slopes (after loose scree has stopped sliding over itself, glass-on-glass, depending on texture and contact) so away from any notable structural failures (definitely suspension bridges, probably plants limbs because of the lower flexibility, if not weight issues, although prior to vitrification the organic branch growth was self-engineered to deal with stresses in assuming said forms, so probably more resilient than a man-made analogue of their basic structure), I predict that landscape and landmarks will be largely unchanged, topologically.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:14 pm UTC

isn't the pole would have the wildest range of temperature? Especially since the atmosphere would probably gone and heat get evenly distributed.

Hopefully one day this will get into the main Whatif page.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:54 pm UTC

andykhang wrote:isn't the pole would have the wildest range of temperature? Especially since the atmosphere would probably gone and heat get evenly distributed.

Hopefully one day this will get into the main Whatif page.


Wildest? Or widest? Quickly browsing, North Pole temperatures range by maybe 60C° (-50°C..+10°C) across the year, comparable to the swing recorded in Loma, Montana on January 15th, 1972. Deserts (semi equatorial, most of them) tend to swing wildly, on a daily cycle, by about 50C°). Scott-Amundsen station has a record high more than 70 degrees above its record low, but (as with North Pole) day by day it varies very little, mostly because it is generally in constant sunlight or constant night for whole swathes of the year, and it is also hidden from significantly changable weather extremes.

And with a world changed to glass, the hydrosphere presumably also, a lot of the current drivers of weather may dampen (NPI!) significantly. And it is temperature gradient (by space or time) that would cause problems with different temperatures. A settling newly-englassed Earth might have inherited hotspots and cold-spots but no great stresses would arise as it slowly works its way into whatever redistribution of temperature a glass-Earth would go for, I think. Off the top of my head.


Oh, and I predict "planetary's core question" thread will be shortly merged into here. And the What-If sub-board (this, yes?) is for Randall's What-Ifs, for which questions go directly to him. Here you're stuck with Science and Fictional Science boards, depending on subtlties, and a lot of little semi-identical questions in separate threads that are really just follow-ups to a prior thread tends to be discouraged, IME. But, IANAMod.

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Freeze the Air

Postby andykhang » Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:07 pm UTC

Well, the only thing left on my mind right now is the effect of space dust colliding with the surface now that the atmosphere is gone, but I will ask another question:

What happen if you suck 1 ton of air out of the atmosphere and turn it into a giant ice ball in short interval, like said, 2 seconds?

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Re: Freeze the Air

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:07 pm UTC

andykhang wrote:Well, the only thing left on my mind right now is the effect of space dust colliding with the surface now that the atmosphere is gone,
Is it? Anyway solid glass surface (already succumbed to the obvious fragilities, above) is probably fairly strong now. Dust won't do much. Larger debris might create an impact cracking or compromise not-quite-failed matter conversion. ..

but I will ask another question:

What happen if you suck 1 ton of air out of the atmosphere and turn it into a giant ice ball in short interval, like said, 2 seconds?
A (metric) ton of sea-level, living-temperature air is approximately a cube of 9⅓ metres size.

Frozen to -220°C (to get majority Nitrogen and Oxygen components frozen, but may be a bit slushy), the figures might need some work but the new volume would be maybe about a metre cubed (going by listed densities of the main components at their BPs, at first approximation). There'd be an impressive inverted "whooop", if done in situ, but probably drowned out by the noise of any actual compressor/freezer device in use if done technologically. The energy removed from the air would have to go somewhere, plus the 'waste' energy from the heat-pump device, whose efficiency I can't even guess at. But there'd be a flare (or long-term glow) from the machine's radiators that'd definitely need warning signs around it, especially as well as where the air-intake and/or ice-air ejection system is.

And then if not maintained as ice, the iced-air likely quickly remelts and reboils (in a confusion, perhaps some sublimation but I don't think you could tell) sending a primary and secondary cold draught onto obsevers not already deafened, cooked, sucked into the device or splatted by its ejecta. More warning signs needed?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby ijuin » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:50 pm UTC

The now-airless glass Earth would receive the same kind of punishment from meteoroids that any airless body would, such as Luna.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:10 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:(NPI!)

What does that mean?

ijuin wrote:Luna.

The Moon?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:31 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:(NPI!)

What does that mean?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Sableagle » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:44 pm UTC

Which would be the better ski slope at -10'C, meringue, sorbet or "traditional" dairy ice-cream ...

... and which would be the best place to land in a 10,000ft parachute-failure incident, the giant bowl of frozen yoghurt, the giant ball of candyfloss (no stick) or the giant raspberry pavlova?

I'd think the meringue would be a horrible surface, because it tends to get sticky when you break it unless it's baked really hard and nobody wants to ski on really hard surfaces. You'd have constantly shifting patterns of friction under your edges. I reckon the dairy ice-cream would be the best surface in terms of hardness, but would stickiness impair your skiing?

As for the freefall, a raspberry pavlova of normal meringue density would ... what, collapse under its own weight before you even got there? Just how high can raspberry pavlovas be stacked without the assistance of metal frames, cardboard boxes, wooden struts or anything else like that? If you did hit a huge pile of meringue, you'd probably get a fairly gradual deceleration but would broken edges cut at those high speeds? Also, would the rubble falling on top of you crush or suffocate you? A 100km/h splashdown into frozen yoghurt would make for a damn cold experience with or without injuries. Could you swim back to the surface? Would you need to? Candyfloss if stacked high enough, would compress under its own weight like snow forming a glacier, but the top layers would be low-density so you could get away with hitting that ... but could you get out of it afterwards?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Zohar » Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:42 pm UTC

I would be worried about sinking too deep and suffocating in candy floss. Though what a way to go...
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby ijuin » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:34 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
ijuin wrote:Luna.

The Moon?

Yes, that Luna.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:31 pm UTC

Oh, so neither the pony nor my friend's cockatiel. Thank you for that clarification.
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what would happen if we squeezed 4000 people into the volume of 1

Postby >-) » Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:00 am UTC

Since people are mostly water, and water is mostly incompressible, I'm not sure what would happen when you try to compress water by a factor of 4000. Would degenerate matter form? I think at lower pressures some exotic forms of ice would appear, but I don't think any of those ice types are 4000 times more dense than water.

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Re: what would happen if we squeezed 4000 people into the volume of 1

Postby p1t1o » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:11 am UTC

>-) wrote:Since people are mostly water, and water is mostly incompressible, I'm not sure what would happen when you try to compress water by a factor of 4000. Would degenerate matter form? I think at lower pressures some exotic forms of ice would appear, but I don't think any of those ice types are 4000 times more dense than water.


I dont think that that is dense enough for degeneracy by about a factor of 1000, my bet is that you'd get a liquid metal phase mix of hydrogen and oxygen - I doubt any covalent bonding would survive those conditions and electrons will be strongly encouraged to delocalise.

But I think what you are really asking is "Can humans make a good substitue for hydraulic fluid?".

To which the answer is: no, too noisy.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby lorb » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:30 am UTC

Sableagle wrote:[...] nobody wants to ski on really hard surfaces. [...]


Elite/high level competitive alpine skiing is done on very very very hard snow. Basically ice.
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Re: what would happen if we squeezed 4000 people into the volume of 1

Postby ijuin » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:38 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
>-) wrote:Since people are mostly water, and water is mostly incompressible, I'm not sure what would happen when you try to compress water by a factor of 4000. Would degenerate matter form? I think at lower pressures some exotic forms of ice would appear, but I don't think any of those ice types are 4000 times more dense than water.


I dont think that that is dense enough for degeneracy by about a factor of 1000, my bet is that you'd get a liquid metal phase mix of hydrogen and oxygen - I doubt any covalent bonding would survive those conditions and electrons will be strongly encouraged to delocalise.

But I think what you are really asking is "Can humans make a good substitue for hydraulic fluid?".

To which the answer is: no, too noisy.


Also, that kind of pressure probably requires you to be at the center of a giant planet near the planet/brown-dwarf boundary, if not on the surface of an actual degenerate object (black dwarf).


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