Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios Ch.1 "Up, Up, and Away!"

Ever wondered of how Superman and his powers work with actual physics. Well back when he was only a comic book character, remember how it was said "He could leap tall buildings in a single bound"?

Question is how high he could actually leap then. His range was 660 feet, what he would need in velocity to make that height to jump off from the sidewalk to get to that max height. With his final velocity, at 660 feet,which will be 0. Meaning his initial velocity would be 140 miles per hour is what will determine his highest point. Superman also weighs 220 pounds and his mass is 100 kilograms. The force of gravity remains constant through the entire event. With his initial speed, the force of gravity, and the max height that he can leap, how do you explain how he can reach that velocity in a leap?

Thou he crouches and pushes back on the ground, he is still effected by the force of gravity along with his mass and acceleration. This is where you take in the account that he is not earth born, but from the planet Krypton, where the gravity is much stronger. Superman's DNA made his muscles and body to survive the force of gravity on Krypton his home planet, so just much stronger is the force of gravity on Krypton?


If we say that Superman weighs about a 100 kg in mass, then force is equal to 100 kg in his mass times his acceleration of 250 meters/sec^2. Then the force he produces for the vertical leap is 5600 lbs. Supposing that his amount of force is 70% then what his legs could actually supply, Superman would have weighed 3,300 pounds on Krypton. His mass is constant even on different planets. So saying that he weighed 220 pounds on Earth and 3,300 pounds on Krypton, with the acceleration and the gravity on Krypton, the force of gravity on Krypton would have been 15 times greater than on Earth. Meaning this difference in gravity allows him to be able to generate the force needed to leap a 660 foot building while having the initial velocity of 140 miles per hour with a simple crouch jump.

Source:
The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios
Chapter 1, pages 21 - 32
Published by "Gotham Books"

Kakalios, James. The Physics of Superheroes. New York: Gotham, 2005. Print.


1 comment:

  1. OK, you have some good stuff here, but again, there are issues with how you present it. This is an important skill to master - being able to explain a concept in written form. I would encourage you to read some of the other students' posts this week to get some ideas of how to improve your writing. For example, you might look at Drayton's or Ella's blogs (linked from my blog). Notice how they organize their thoughts and present them in a logical order, with one step leading into the next. They also do a nice job of weaving the science into a compelling narrative about the movie or character they are reviewing.

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