Heavy question; the gravity of a thought experiment

In summary, the Ferris wheel would not spin due to the difference in gravity between the two sides of the wheel.
  • #1
mjhilger
93
14
Just thinking about gravity. How is the gravity effected by the surroundings of a location?

Suppose we have a giant farris wheel with very good bearings and we place it in a location; like the Grand Canyon - somewhere with a very steep dropoff; such that say 40% of the wheel is over the cliff. So the buckets that cross the boundary of the cliff have no Earth below them for say 2500 feet at least; while the other side is positioned over solid rock/earth. Would there be a large enough difference in the delta of the gravity to cause a spin from the buckets over the solid Earth having more pull? I have not worked out the math yet, just a ponder?

Thanks,
Mitch
 
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  • #2
The local gravitational field varies with the density of local/underground rock formations. Mining companies have been using this information as part of their scientific prospecting technique since Eötvös developed practical devices. See the Wikipedia article on Eötvös.

But is it enough to move something besides the most delicate of balances? The answer is not so that anybody would notice.
 
  • #3
Gravity doesn't just pull in one direction, it pulls in all directions. So you can't prevent the ground underneath the ferris wheel from pulling on the entire ferris wheel.
 
  • #4
Of course not. Energy is conserved. It takes as much energy to lift a bucket as you get from dropping a bucket. It doesn't matter if you lift it in some zig-zag direction or straight up.
 
  • #5
No one side of the wheel would be attracted more than the other, so it would just stop.
Say it was a very sensitive beam balance hanging over the cliff with equal weights one end would go down and the other up and then stay there what makes you imagine it would spin.
 

Related to Heavy question; the gravity of a thought experiment

1. What is a thought experiment?

A thought experiment is a mental exercise or hypothetical scenario that is used to explore concepts and ideas. It allows scientists to consider ideas and theories that may not be possible to test in a physical experiment.

2. How does a thought experiment relate to gravity?

A thought experiment about gravity allows scientists to consider the effects of gravity on various objects and situations without actually conducting a physical experiment. It helps them to understand the fundamental principles of gravity and its impact on the universe.

3. Can a thought experiment provide valuable scientific insights?

Yes, thought experiments can provide valuable insights and help scientists to develop new theories and concepts. They can also help to test existing theories and challenge long-held beliefs.

4. How is a thought experiment different from a physical experiment?

A thought experiment is conducted entirely in the mind, while a physical experiment involves conducting tests and observations in the real world. Thought experiments are used to explore ideas and theories, while physical experiments are used to gather data and test hypotheses.

5. Can anyone conduct a thought experiment?

Yes, anyone can conduct a thought experiment, as long as they have a curious and imaginative mind. However, for it to be considered scientifically valuable, it should be based on sound logic and reasoning and should be able to provide new insights or challenge existing beliefs.

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