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76

Your intuition is good, but you're mixing up some quantum and classical phenomena. In classical (i.e. non-quantum) physics, a vacuum is a region of space with no matter. You can have electromagnetic fields in a vacuum, so long as the charges creating the fields are in a different region. By the same token you can have gravitational fields in a vacuum, ...


29

When a bell vibrates in air, it pushes air molecules out of the way which will make the vibrations "decay". If you strike a bell in vacuum, this loss mechanism will not be there so the bell will "ring" for longer (but nobody can hear it). This doesn't mean the initial amplitude is significantly greater - just that it persists longer. Obviously if you rang ...


29

The typical speed of an air molecule is a few hundred meters per second, while escape velocity from Earth is over 10,000 meters per second. So almost all the air molecules just fall back down. They're affected by gravity just like everything else! We do lose some air molecules this way, though. In particular, hydrogen and helium are lighter, so they move ...


27

Don't forget that the aeroplane will be moving forward, so it's not relying on a vacuum filling ahead of the propellor to supply the latter with air. Now I daresay there are good engineering reasons why propellors are not efficient and even impracticable for supersonic flight, but I don't think there is a fundamental physics theoretical reason ruling them ...


25

I don't understand the difference between the first and the second question, but the answer is "No, you don't need air for the clothes to dry". In fact, it will dry faster if in vacuum, because the water will start to boil in zero pressure, even if the temperature is not 100º C. In fact, at zero pressure, water cannot exist in liquid, but will evaporate if ...


19

In practice, no. In theory, also no. The Universe is filled with photons with an energy distribution corresponding to 2.73 K. Every cm$^3$ of space holds around 400-500 of them. That means that if you place your "stable body" in an ever-so-isolated box, the box itself will never come below 2.73 K, and neither will the body inside. It will asymptotically go ...


17

Not physically, but practically there are (currently) better alternatives. The limiting issue with propellers is similar to the limiting issue with helicopters: propellers work like wing sections in that they must accelerate flow to work; when you're near the speed of sound, this means you are going to cause shocks to form, and this issue is particularly ...


15

The graviton is the hypothetical gauge boson associated with the gravitational field. I say hypothetical because it is far from clear whether gravity can be described by a quantum field theory, so it isn't clear whether gravitons are a useful description. In any case, you should not take the notion of virtual particles like the graviton too seriously. have ...


14

Ever since Newton and the use of mathematics in physics, physics can be defined as a discipline where nature is modeled by mathematics. One should have clear in mind what nature means and what mathematics is. Nature we know by measurements and observations. Mathematics is a self consistent discipline with axioms, theorems and statements having absolute ...


13

If you simply held a cup upside down in zero gravity, the liquid ought not to pour out. However, things in zero gravity still obey Newton's laws. If you pull away the cup, the water ought to stay behind. In reality, a sudden move of the cup would create a lower pressure behind the water than in front so the air pressure would try to keep it in the cup, but ...


12

Freeze it in liquid helium. Any gas inside will condense out. Spin it quickly then stop it. The internal turbulence of the spinning gas will be visible with a sensitive detector. Apply a short sharp impact to one side. If there is gas inside, the sound energy peak from the sound transiting the gas will be temporally distinct from the spectrum of the sound ...


12

The boiling water is converting liquid water to gas. Unless this gas is continually removed by the pump, it quickly increases the pressure inside the vessel. This increased pressure will stop the boiling. Setting a lid on the jar gives it a one-way valve. Gas can still escape. If you instead put on a full seal so that gas cannot escape, then it will ...


11

The biggest, immediate problem with "openning the door" of a spacecraft is not that you would die immediately from exposure to the vacuum of space: you don't - you have of the order of minutes to do something about it. The problem is the violent outrush of air. User rob offers this answer to the Physics SE question Do airlocks in space decompress violently ...


11

It's by definition. A vacuum state is defined to be Poincaré invariant, since it should not depend on the frame (in special relativistic QFT; you get frame-dependent vacua in QFT in curved spacetime). If it had non-zero momentum, it would not be invariant under rotations and boosts, for instance. For the non-interacting vacuum, you can also easily see ...


10

Air fails to escape into space for the same reason you fail to: gravity. As noted in Kevin's answer, occasionally some do get going fast enough to escape. You would too, if enough stuff hit you hard enough. :) Space is a vacuum (for some definition of vacuum), because vacuum is simply the absence of air/gas pressure, and there aren't enough gas molecules in ...


9

In field theory, there are two vacua. The non-perturbative vacuum $|\Omega\rangle$ and the vacuum of the free theory $|0\rangle$. The wikipedia article makes reference to $|\Omega\rangle$ in terms of $|0\rangle$ and its excitations. The true vacuum is annihilated by the (dressed) annihilation operators, and can be thought of perturbatively in terms ...


9

Pour? No such thing without gravity. In NASA TV (see video), I saw the prototype coffee cups. They are shaped with a sharp crease, to allow liquid to ride up the groove. More advanced product would also mix waxy and wettable surfaces to keep it stuck to the inside of the cup but not crawl over the brim, except at the sip line. The pictures are hard to ...


9

I think the problem in understanding this is the idea of "space being sucked into a black hole." The reality is matter is "sucked" into a black hole. Space is warped around the black whole, but space is not "sucked" into anything. Here's the issue. What is space? You can't touch space (or better, the space-time continuum). So, one view is that space is ...


7

The conductivity of the vacuum is not a very trivial issue. In fact, depending on how you look at it, it behaves in two different ways. Firstly, there is no retarding force on any charged particle with constant velocity in vacuum. To this extent, no extra work is required in maintaining a constant current through any surface in vacuum. In stark contrast ...


7

I think when you say "no air" you mean "no wind" In modern greek too "air" can mean "wind" and and also the content of the atmosphere. So if you hang clothes in the same sun but with no wind to supply convection, the clothes will try slower than when a wind is blowing, due to convection. Convection replaces the saturated air close to the clothes with ...


7

When we refer to the 3 K of temperature in space, we don't mean atomic vibrations. The so called temperature arises, when you look at the sky and measure the radiation, which comes to us from every direction. If you cancel all stars, galaxies and other major light sources you will still "see" very isotropic microwave radiation. And this radiation is ...


6

people in spaceships opening doors and closing them again with no suits on. Is it possible in "real life" No, it is not. Any sane engineer will build doors that open inward, or have latches that over-center when closed so it is simply impossible to open an airlock in a pressurized vessel. An aircraft, for example, has about 6-8 tons of pressure holding ...


6

For 1. In principle, the refractive index of a true vacuum is identically 1. For air at atmospheric pressure, the index is 1.000293 for visible light. Therefore, you should be able to determine the deviations between in refractive angles for a jar filled with air and one under vacuum. Since we're talking deviations on the order of one in ten thousandth, it's ...


5

It's a mixture of $c_\infty = c_0 = c$ and "the question doesn't make sense". So, first, how it does not make sense: What's the "speed" of a quantum object? It has, in general, no well-defined position, so $v = \frac{\mathrm{d}x}{\mathrm{d}t}$ is rather ill-defined. Instead, we should probably look at the mass of the photon, since all massless objects ...


5

The bell will not vibrate harder, but will take much longer to decay. The chief dissipation mechanisms are air, bell suspension mount, and internal friction in the metal. A well made bell's mount will be such that the fundamental vibrational mode of the bell does not produce much vibration or energy loss in the suspension point. The internal friction of a ...


5

If we assume you are a sphere in space, at the same distance from the sun as Earth, then we can calculate the heat absorbed - and we can calculate how hot you need to be so heat in = heat out (assuming uniform surface temperature, and radiative heat transfer only). For this, we need the Stefan-Boltzmann expression for total emission at a given temperature: ...


5

Internal friction in the metal of the bell eventually will bring the ringing vibrations to an end. The bell vibrates when it rings, making its molecules more energetic and creating heat. Bonding between the molecules of the bell resist the vibrations, and eventually the strength of the molecular bonds will create enough friction to bring the vibrations ...


5

Both gravity and electrostatic forces depend on distance ($r$) like $1/r^2$. So changing the separation between 2 atoms changes both forces equally. So whichever force is stronger initially (at any distance) will always be stronger. To determine which is stronger consider the ratio of gravitational to electric force. $$ F_g/F_e = 4\pi \epsilon_0 G ...


5

Sometimes I feel Wikipedia is a funny place... In the article you quote they provide a calculation from our patent application (see, e.g., http://akhmeteli.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/vacuum_balloons_cip.pdf ) proving that a homogeneous shell made of any existing material cannot be both light enough to float in air and strong enough to withstand ...


5

Yes, you're wrong. Sound waves are small compressions (oscillations) of an elastic medium, travelling through that same elastic medium (as a wave). Air, liquids or solids are typical elastic media through which sound waves can travel. Vacuum however contains no matter and cannot sustain sound waves at all. Watch this video on a bell in a vacuum jar.



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