If an Atom was the size of a grain of salt

  • Thread starter Embison
  • Start date
  • #1
49
0
What object would represent the size of a grain of salt at this scale?

Would it be bigger than Earth?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
34,317
5,968
What object would represent the size of a grain of salt at this scale?

Would it be bigger than Earth?
Is this a homework problem?

What are your thoughts on your problem?
 
  • #3
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
712
The smallest atom is helium at ~30pm, a very large atom like caesium is ~225pm. Salt obviously varies in size but let's say it's particularly fine at 100μm then a helium atom is ~3 millionth of the size and a caesium atom is ~0.5 millionth of the size. So if a helium atom was as large as a grain of salt a grain of salt would be ~100m wide and for a caesium atom it would be ~16m wide.

I'm pretty sure my math is correct there :wink:
 
  • #4
49
0
No. I'm reading this...

http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/02/single-atom-transistor-is-perfect.html?m=1 [Broken]

and I'm curious about how small that really is.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #5
281
2
If I remember correctly, an atom is roughly in the 10^-11 - 10^-10 scale, and an average grain of salt could have a diameter of, let's say, 10^-3 m (assuming it's a sphere).

This leaves you with a diameter ratio of about 50 million.
 
  • #6
49
0
So what object would represent the size of the grain of salt?
 
  • #7
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
712
So what object would represent the size of the grain of salt?
See my post #3 above.
 
  • #8
49
0
I did but you didnt mention any objects.
 
  • #9
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
712
I did but you didnt mention any objects.
16 metres long is roughly five cars. 100 metres long is roughly the width of the international space station. That's obviously just length so use your imagination to make it 3d.
 
  • #11
49
0
Thanks Ryan. I wasnt sure if you meant miles or meters.

Is it possible to estimate which atomic scale that transistor was manufactured at from the link I posted? And what size would a grain of salt represent from my original question compared to the size of that transistor?

Thank you for any help!!
 
  • #13
Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
5,844
712
Thanks Ryan. I wasnt sure if you meant miles or meters.

Is it possible to estimate which atomic scale that transistor was manufactured at from the link I posted? And what size would a grain of salt represent from my original question compared to the size of that transistor?

Thank you for any help!!
Well the atom they mention is phosphorous which is roughly 180pm in size (note that atom "size" can vary based on how they bond IIRC).

Taking a grain of salt to be 100μm in size: 100000000pm/180pm = 555555.55
100μm*555555.55 = 55555555μm = 55555.555mm = 55.555555m

So a grain of salt would be ~half the size of a 100m sprint track.
 

Related Threads on If an Atom was the size of a grain of salt

  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
3K
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
4
Views
688
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
1K
Top