Pressure due to an elephant and atmospheric pressure

  • Thread starter Pranav Jha
  • Start date
  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

The pressure exerted against the ground by an elephant's weight distributed evenly over its four feet is less than 1 atmosphere. Why, then, would you be crushed beneath the foot of an elephant, while you're unharmed by the pressure of the atmosphere?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1,341
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We're in equilibrium with our environment. Our bodies are well tuned at the correct pressure so there is no problem.

If an elephant steps on you you're adding on extra pressure that your body is not used to.
 
  • #3
803
9
Divers can go underwater and experience pressures far greater than 1 atm.

The problem is when an elephant steps on you, that 1 atm has to go down through you, and into the ground. More specifically, through your curved rib cage and into the hard ground. That 1atm is not so friendly anymore under those conditions.

To demonstrate this effect, try squeezing an egg in your hand, and then try squeezing it against the hard ground. Report with the results :)
 
Last edited:

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