# Where would a perfect sphere break under pressure?

My roommate who studies physics once showed me the leftovers of an interesting experiment:

They filled up those metal balls with water and then froze it. The water expanded and with all of its power blasted away the metal shells. Amazing stuff.

But I came up with a question he couldn't answer with confidence when I saw that.

All of these "balls" are imperfect. They have different materials all over the place. Let's say they're mostly some metal $m$, but at no point is there exclusively any $m$, there are always other things (oxygen, hydrogenparts out of the air, ...), therefore those spheres can sustain different pressure levels at different parts and in one part or another, they will crack first and release all the energy. At least I imagine it that way and I cannot think of any other way.

But now imagine you had a perfect ball of metal like those. Every nm² and smaller is exactly as durable as any other one. And then you did the same experiment: at which point would the metal first start to crack? Would it crack at all without any differences in structure?

Wouldn't a perfect children's balloon then be able to stand any pressure from the inside without breaking? That seems paradoxical to me, but logical if my assumption is true that the balls only break at a certain point because that point cannot handle as much pressure as the other points

Does anybody know the answer? It would really interest me.

• a perfect sphere is something that, in reality, is nearly impossible to achieve. Even so, one could still invoke quantum fluctuations to argue that eventually the sphere will break as a consequence of a spontaneously broken symmetry. Jan 3, 2015 at 17:34
• There is no such thing as a perfect sphere. Things that don't exist can't break. They can't do anything, really. Jan 3, 2015 at 17:35
• There will always be a defect somewhere in the molecular structure. Jan 3, 2015 at 17:37
• creating a perfect ball isnt practical , There would be some form of void/dislocations or defects always. So there would be always some crack initiation point due to imbalance in local strain fields. If indeed a perfect sphere is created then it should break at all points(each atom to atom). You should read about single crystals Jan 3, 2015 at 17:38