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Effects of a Vacuum

  1. Oct 3, 2003 #1
    What happens if a human was to be a immediately exposed to a vacuum, such as that in space? from what i understand they explode, due to the internal pressure having nothing to balance its force... but i may be wrong
    who here knows the answer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2003 #2
    Kinda like the bends (decompression sickness). Since the depth corresponding to 2 atmospheres pressure is approximately 10 meters below water's surface, the same effect (exploded lungs, nitrogen bubbles in the blood...) might occur to a diver immediately brought above water from there.

    In the case of a vacuum, blood would find any opportunity to escape the body. I was lucky to survive.
  4. Oct 3, 2003 #3
    hmm, so a kinda Anti-Bends
    but nothing explosive then from the lack of pressure?
  5. Oct 3, 2003 #4


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  6. Oct 4, 2003 #5
    ah, well i was wondering if 2001 did it right, or Red Dwarf.... (although it is silly trying to compare physics out of fiction)
  7. Jan 25, 2004 #6
    I timed Bowman's Emergency Hatch Entrance scene in 2001 on Laserdisk about four months ago after reading an article similar to the one Janus provided a link for.

    From the moment the hatch of the pod opens to the moment Bowman pushes down a lever in Discovery to close the hatch on Discovery and initiate re-pressurization, it spanned about 9 seconds. Right on the money. I was impressed.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2004
  8. Jan 25, 2004 #7


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    IIRC, the producers went to great lengths to get the Bowman sequence right. And Clarke would certainly have done his homework as he wrote the book.
  9. Jan 26, 2004 #8


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    It's important to remember that Clarke was trained as an engineer and some of his earlier stories turn on technical points ("Perturbation Theory" for example. It's nice to remember that that phrase and technique had a prehistory in celestial mechanics before the quantum field people got hold of it).
  10. Jan 26, 2004 #9


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    If you hold your breath and experience an explosive decompression, you'd probably blow your eardrums and maybe damage your lungs, but other than that, it takes longer for the bad things like boiling blood to happen.

    Remember, pressure is pretty much pressure and 1 atmosphere is 35 feet of water - and people free dive deeper than that, taking only a few seconds to get there.
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