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Need some help putting this into perspective

  1. Jun 25, 2010 #1
    i'm a physics fanatic.
    i love the concepts of science and physics in general.
    so this isn't for homework or anything just for the fascination of the science.

    i need some help putting a number into perspective and instead of just googling for methods to figure it out, i wanted to join a forum to actually talk to other people about the process and whatnot.
    but anyway,

    how can i put a known amount of Newton force into perspective.
    my number is over a billion Newton.
    it seems hard to put into perspective because it's so large, and i'm not sure exactly how to calculate or convert it to other principals that aren't exactly related.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2010 #2


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    F = m*g. So a billion newtons is the equivalent of (m = F/g) 1E9/9.8 kg.
    So the force you have from about 100,000 tons of weight.
  4. Jun 25, 2010 #3
    Another way to think of it is that 1,000,000,000 Newtons will take an average 2 ton car from 0 to 60 mph in one twenty-thousandth of a second.

    Oh, and welcome to Physics Forums, spezticle!
    You've come to the right place.
  5. Jun 25, 2010 #4
    well, maybe i did my math wrong.. maybe not...
    11793kg is dropped 9 meters
    so it's velocity before impact is 13.281566172707194 m/s
    and it's KE just before impact is 1040142.6000000001 J
    and figuring that distance traveled after impact was .019 meters i got 54,744,347.368421055 newtons
    while figuring in distance traveled as .001 m i got the number over a billion and a half N
    but i'm coming to the problem figuring the distance traveled after impact.
    i know in order to accurately estimate this, i have to figure in density and that's where it gets complicated for me. everything up to this point was pretty easy.

    11,000kg falling 9m, considering the object is flat and wide in width but short in height and length landing on the wide side and the impact surface is quite hard... figuring 'quite hard' isn't specific enough. from a related scenario i could see that the distance traveled after impact was practically nothing at all because of the hard surface it fell upon. figuring in 0 for distance traveled just doesn't work. you can't divide by zero and it's theoretically impossible for an object, especially at 11,000kg to move 0 distance after impact especially at 9m.
  6. Jun 25, 2010 #5
    Woah, yea. The time of a collision is not something you can easily calculate. It's based not only on density, but on the chemistry of the objects colliding. You can calculate the impulse, which is the force of the collision, times the time of the collision, but you'd be hard pressed to determine values for force and time separately without the use of simulation or video analysis, etc.
  7. Jun 25, 2010 #6
    It is enough energy to power an adult body for about 115 days.
  8. Jun 25, 2010 #7
    Wait, what? A billion Newtons?

    Oh, you mean this, right?
  9. Jun 25, 2010 #8
    Well a Watt is Joules/sec is Newton Meters/sec. There is 86,000 seconds in a day, it takes roughly 100W to power a human body. I just did a quick calculation, maybe I missed something :)
  10. Jun 25, 2010 #9
    1040142.6 J @ 100W would last 10401.426 seconds, which is .12 days, not 115.

    Where did you get 115? I'll work backwards:
    115 days @ 100W would be... ah ha! I see what you did. 115 days @ 100W would be close to one billion Joules. The OP asked for a description of a billion Newtons, not Joules.
  11. Jun 25, 2010 #10
    all of this is why i love physics and physics fanatics.
    going through the processes, correcting mistakes, math... <3
  12. Jun 25, 2010 #11
    Are you a student, spezticle? What classes have you taken?
  13. Jun 25, 2010 #12
    i'm not a student now. i was in college a few years ago for computer networking administration, but it didn't work out very well because of financial reasons... i've been kind of between a rock and a hard place for a while as far as that part of my life goes, always trying to find work suitable enough because i don't have enough upper education......... but that's a different topic indeed.
    i haven't taken many classes in the fields of science at all... well, as far as anything past highschool general stuff. the most advanced science class i took in high school was the first physics class, but my tiny farmer town didn't really offer a lot really complicated things, nor opportunity.

    Everything i know about math, physics, computers and programming is self taught and personal study. Seeing as i don't really have a full time career to consume all my time, and i'm not the most extroverted person either, i spend almost all my free time doing pc related tasks or reading about theory in science. The most fascinating fields for me are quantum physics and the contemplation of energy and what energy really is and where it came from.
  14. Jun 25, 2010 #13
    as far as the reason for my original post, the situation i was pulling the numbers from was an unfortunate accident that happened in milwaukee, wi yesterday. a 27,000 pound chuck of a parking structure broke off and killed somebody. my mother was pretty upset about it when she heard about it, just because it's a very sad topic if you end up reading the details about it. i tried comforting her the best way i knew how, explaining to her with real numbers exactly how little the guy actually felt and how completely unaware he was because i'm sure having endured those forces, considering he didn't know that it was coming, i know for sure he sure didn't feel anything before it was over. oh, and i also now realize as more information was released, i was off on my estimates of a 9meter fall, but a 2.7 meter fall, btw, so yeah, that changes everything, too
  15. Jun 25, 2010 #14
    Well, I definitely recommend browsing these forums, signing up for the http://www.sciambookclub.com/" [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  16. Jun 25, 2010 #15
    thanks, I'll definitely do that. i want to learn so much more and eventually be able to use my knowlege for purposes other than contemplating scenario forces or whatever else.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  17. Jun 25, 2010 #16
    Of course, nothing beats the traditional teacher-student setup. If you have any access to a community college, or a private tutor, that really would be the best way to learn.
  18. Jun 25, 2010 #17


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    It the future do not share the entire contents of your calculators screen. You would have given all the necessary information had you just written:

    "velocity before impact is 13.3 m/s and it's KE just before impact is 1.04 x10 ^6 J"
    More digits is not meaningful information, the extra digits are just annoying noise.
  19. Jun 25, 2010 #18
    got it :)
  20. Jun 25, 2010 #19
    I dropped meters from one side of the equation. Guess you can't do that huh. I seem to remember from dimensional analysis that if something did not exist on both sides of the equation you could drop it. Oh well.

    In other words I converted using 1N = 1J.

    Edit: Well I looked up converting newtons to watts here is the answer:
    "This is Dimensionally Inconsistent."
  21. Jun 25, 2010 #20
    Nope. Joules and Newtons simply measure different things. You can't just equate them like that. The "meters" term is important. I can't figure what you may have learned about dropping unique terms like that... hmm...
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