Does methane gravitationally differentiate in air, or does fluid dynamics mess things up & make it mix in with the air?
Both. Methane has molecular wt. approx. 16, while oxygen and nitrogen have molecular wts. of 32 and 28, so the methane would slowly rise when the air is perfectly still. However the air is never perfectly still, so wind,etc. tends to mix things up.Praestrigiator said:Does methane gravitationally differentiate in air, or does fluid dynamics mess things up & make it mix in with the air?
Gravitational differentiation is the process by which a planet or other large astronomical body separates into layers of different densities due to the force of gravity. This process occurs during the initial formation of the body and can continue over time as heavier materials sink to the center and lighter materials rise to the surface.
Gravitational differentiation results in the formation of distinct layers within a planet, with the most dense materials at the core and lighter materials at the surface. This creates a layered structure, with each layer having different physical and chemical properties.
The main factors that influence gravitational differentiation are the mass and composition of the astronomical body, as well as the temperature and pressure conditions during its formation. The more massive and heterogeneous the body, the stronger the force of gravity and the more pronounced the differentiation process.
Yes, gravitational differentiation can occur on smaller bodies as well. However, the process may not be as pronounced as on larger bodies due to their lower mass and gravity. Additionally, external factors such as collisions and tidal forces can also affect the differentiation process on smaller bodies.
Gravitational differentiation plays a crucial role in the evolution of a planet by influencing its internal structure and composition. The separation of different layers can lead to the formation of a magnetic field, which can protect the planet's atmosphere and surface from harmful solar radiation. It also affects the distribution of elements and minerals, which can impact the planet's overall geology and potential habitability.