What would cause an extended object (like a person) to be subjected to “spaghettification” when falling into a black hole, even though that would not happen to a point object (like an electron)?


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You are correct, point particles like electrons do not get spaghettified. But anything above elementary particles gets spaghettified. That is, nuclei, atoms.

Spaghettification on an atomic scale?

Gravity is the weakest on the quantum scale out of the four fundamental forces, that is, the strong and EM forces are much stronger, keeping matter intact, so you do not see spaghettification here on Earth.

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Why do we talk of the "weakness of gravity" rather than "the surprising charge to mass ratio of particles"?

It is different though at a black hole, because spacetime curvature and tidal forces of gravity become so strong, that they can even become stronger then the strong and EM forces, even on the quantum scale.

Now spaghettification is caused actually by two tidal forces. One is in the direction of the singularity and stretches, and the other one is tangential and squeezes, that is why you get spaghetti form.

Thus there is a compressive force in the tangential direction that is roughly equivalent to the stretching force in the radial direction. Hence spaghetti.

Spaghettification of humans near black holes


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