Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Earth - Pre Theia Collision

Billions of years ago, our planet, Earth, collided with another planet-like object. Scientists have nicknamed it "Theia". This event is what was believed to have changed our Earth into a molten ball of rock. However, geochemist Sujoy Mukhopadhyay and his team have discovered, through isotopes recovered from deep inside the Earth's mantle, that some of the Earth material has survived to this day,
Though the energy released from the impact of Theia was great, they believe that it was not evenly distributed throughout the Earth. This means a big part of the hemisphere that was hit would be completely vaporized, but the opposite side would be somewhat shielded. This would make it possible for the ancient Earth to have survived all these years.
I think it's amazing that it's been millions and billions of years and yet we can still trace the chemical history of our planet today. The fact that these traces are even still here to be analyzed is incredible. When you compare this amount of time to an average human lifespan, it makes our lives seem so small. 



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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Gas Law


Pressure Cookers

The "something" I chose to demonstrate Guy-Lussac's law of  P1/T1=P2/T2 - or stating that pressure and temperature in gases have a direct relationship - was my own pressure cooker.
A pressure cooker is basically a pot with a lid that can be sealed. It also has a switch that controls how much pressure is in the cooker. It works by capturing steam which raises the pressure. This pressure increases the boiling point of the water. Normally, water boils at around 100 degrees Celsius. However, the pressure cooker raises the temperature to about 120 degrees Celsuis, which drops the amount of time it takes to cook the food.
This works according to Guy-Lussac's law. As the pressure in the cooker rises due to the steam from the water, the temperature of the cooker also rises. What is happening at a smaller scale is that since the volume of the cooker is set and can't be moved, the particles now have more pressure to hit the walls of the cooker with but the same amount of space to hit. Since the pressure also raises the temperature, the particles also hit the same amount of space with more pressure and more speed. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Measurement Fiasco

I decided to look up the Gimli Glider because I had never heard of it before. The "Gimli Glider" was the nickname of a Canadian aircraft. On July 23, 1983 the plane almost crashed because it ran out of fuel at an altitude of about 41,000 ft. It wasn't stocked with enough fuel before it took off because of a wrong measurement. It was miscalculated due to misunderstanding the metric system which was being adopted. Thankfully, the crew avoided a crash but disaster was almost unavoidable. This could've caused a huge problem for the both the plane company and the passengers on board at the time. 

This could've been avoided in a few ways. One being that maybe the crew/whoever was fueling the plane could spend more time practicing conversion from imperial to metric before real life application begins. Practice makes perfect! Another way this might've been avoided could be that they have a few people who go back and measure again or run the conversions twice to check their work.