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What we intuitively think of as "solid objects" are actually electromagnetic force-fields repelling each other. So you are correct; atoms are 'empty' in that they contain no solid objects or things. On the other hand, they are 'full' of basic force field which, in the aggregate, on a macro-scale, creates the illusion of 'solidity' that is what we perceive to ...

12

Because of the Pauli exclusion principle, it's extremely difficult to compress atomic matter beyond a certain density. It's not impossible, because there are always higher-energy electron states available, but there's a very strong force opposing it (called electron degeneracy pressure). This is what it means for space to be full. If you define "empty space"...

3

A charged particle like electron maybe is point-like (of radius zero), but it is "long-handed" as it is "felt" far away. In this sense it is not so "point-like".

55

Although it's commonly said that fundamental particles are point particles you need to be clear what this means. To measure the size of the particle to within some experimental error $d$ requires the use of a probe with a wavelength of $\lambda=d$ or less i.e. with an energy of greater than around $hc/\lambda$. When we say particles are pointlike we mean ...

10

Yes, elementary particles such as electrons and quarks (inside protons) are point-like or at least, their internal structure is incomparably smaller than the size of the atom. So the atom is mostly empty space. However, that doesn't mean that atoms may penetrate each other. Matter is impenetrable because of a combination of the uncertainty principle that ...

2

There are two questions: "Why does vaccum crush the steel tank?" and Why the tank implode?" lemon's answered the first question perfectly - multiply the 1 atm pressure by the surface area of the tank and you will get the force, that crushed it. The second answer is not that simple. The tank walls are designed to transform the pressure forces (perpendicular ...

4

A tank is shaped for pressure from the inside, not the outside. The hull of the tank is convex. Pressure on the inside will cause the hull to assume a shape maximizing the volume per surface which leads to spherical or cylindrical shapes. This does not need much rigidity: balloons come in similar shapes. Pressure on the outside instead will maximize ...

1

Depends on the wall thickness, for example you can collapse a plastic bottle sucking with your mouth but you can't with a glass bottle. There is an Asme code to calculate the minimum wall thickness of a steel tank. The code for external pressure is diferent for internal pressure because geometry of the vessel is very important. Flat and convexe geometry ...

3

If you look at the tank from its circular side you could see how it has to perform like an arch to support the load of atmospheric pressure. Let's imagine we cut a section 1 meter long of this cylinder and cut the bottom part off to have a nice round arch and inspect how it works. It is roughly 3 meters diameter so it has to support a load of 3 x 1 meters x ...

4

Drawing a vacuum in the tank puts the tank walls under a compressive load. The ability of a structure to take compressive load depends on its stability. For a tank car, if we ignore the end caps, compressive loads are acting in two directions - lengthwise and radial. The cylindrical tank will be very stable in lengthwise compression - any buckling forces are ...

19

First of all, as mentioned, atmospheric pressure can exert very high loads when integrated over significant areas. As an example, an overpressure of just 2psi is sufficient to destroy many houses and can kill people. That's about 13% of atmospheric pressure. Secondly there is an important scale question. You give an example of a bike tyre: a road bike ...

47

Atmospheric pressure is equivalent to supporting a weight of 10 tonnes (about 10 average cars) per metre squared. Put like that, it's not surprising that those metal tanks crumple. However, in the comments you raise the point that you pump your bike tyres to 40 psi (about 3 atm) and yet they don't explode. I think this gets to the crux of your confusion. ...

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