Space Elevator Cable: Physical & Chemical Properties

In summary, the space elevator cable would need to be able to withstand Earth's centrifugal force caused by the Earth's orbit since the cable will be rotating along with the Earth in a circular rotation. Objects that are sent up the elevator will be pulled upward by the centrifugal force, which could potentially oppose all, most of, or more than, the gravitational pull of the earth. Considering the issue of the centrifugal force, the cable will need to be made out of a material that is able to take on a gigantic amount of stress, be light in weight, inexpensive, and easily manufactured on a massive scale with a material that is abundant on earth. The best prospect would be a carbon based material related to carbon nanotube technology
  • #1
Physics345
250
23

Homework Statement


a) research the space elevator concept. Consider the environment in which the cable must operate. Recommend two physical and one chemical property that the cable should have. Justify your choices.

b) Based on what you have learned about bonding and forces in solids, which type of solid, in your opinion, is the most suitable for use in the space elevator cable? Justify your choice.

Homework Equations



None

The Attempt at a Solution



a)

Physical Properties: The cable would need to be able to withstand Earth's centrifugal force caused by the Earth's orbit since the cable will be rotating along with the Earth in a circular rotation. Objects that are sent up the elevator will be pulled upward by the centrifugal force, which could potentially oppose all, most of, or more than, the gravitational pull of the earth. Considering the issue of the centrifugal force, the cable will need to be made out of a material that is able to take on a gigantic amount of stress, be light in weight, inexpensive, and easily manufactured on a massive scale with a material that is abundant on earth.

Chemical Properties: It must be immune to corrosion in space. Atomic oxygen is highly reactive, meaning it will oxidize anything that has the potential to oxidize, which causes corrosion. Therefore the cable must be a material that is not affected by oxidization or reduction.b)

The best prospect would be a carbon based material related to carbon nanotube technology. Considering the new invention of Graphene that is the result of a decade worth of research. It is a carbon based material, which consists of hexagonal lattice of carbon atoms which is honey combed in structure. The idea of a space elevator is now plausible since graphene has all the physical properties needed for the space elevators cable. Graphene is immensely tough, it is 200 times stronger than steal, flexible, the thinnest material currently possible, transparent, and has amazing conducting abilities, not even helium is able to pass through it making it a perfect barrier against corrosion. All of these points make it the perfect material for the construction of the space elevators cable.

http://www.innovateus.net/science/what-space-elevator

http://www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk/explore/what-can-graphene-do/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2452262716300058
 
Last edited:
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Looks like we're enrolled in the same chemistry course! :biggrin:

You should probably not mention "centrifugal force" since it's not technically a force.
 
  • Like
Likes Physics345
  • #3
PetSounds said:
Looks like we're enrolled in the same chemistry course! :biggrin:

You should probably not mention "centrifugal force" since it's not technically a force.
It's still an artificial force that represents a certain affect. There is no other name for it. Yeah it's an awful course the text is horrid.
 
  • Like
Likes PetSounds
  • #4
Physics345 said:
Objects that are sent up the elevator will be pulled upward by the centrifugal force, which could potentially oppose all, most of, or more than, the gravitational pull of the earth.
It sounds like you think it will be a low-energy task to get things started on the ground end. You might want to rethink that.
 
  • Like
Likes Physics345
  • #5
phinds said:
It sounds like you think it will be a low-energy task to get things started on the ground end. You might want to rethink that.
Well isn't the idea revolved around the apparent gravitational field? Where the Earth's gravity (downward pull) minus the centrifugal force (upward pull).
 
  • #6
phinds said:
It sounds like you think it will be a low-energy task to get things started on the ground end. You might want to rethink that.
Or am I misunderstanding something here, are you referring to the sky hook concept?
 

Related to Space Elevator Cable: Physical & Chemical Properties

1. What is the material composition of a space elevator cable?

The space elevator cable is made of a strong and lightweight material called carbon nanotubes. These are cylindrical structures made of carbon atoms bonded together in a hexagonal pattern.

2. What is the tensile strength of a space elevator cable?

The tensile strength of a space elevator cable is estimated to be around 62 GPa (gigapascals). This is significantly higher than other materials such as steel, which has a tensile strength of only 0.4 to 2 GPa.

3. How long can a space elevator cable be?

Theoretically, a space elevator cable can be up to 100,000 km long. This is because carbon nanotubes have a very high tensile strength and can withstand the weight of the cable and the counterweight without breaking.

4. How does the space elevator cable withstand the extreme conditions of space?

The space elevator cable is designed to have a protective coating that can withstand the harsh environment of space, including high temperatures, radiation and micro-meteoroids. The carbon nanotubes themselves are also highly resistant to these conditions.

5. Can the space elevator cable be used for other purposes besides space transportation?

Yes, the space elevator cable has the potential to be used for various applications such as power transmission, telecommunications, and scientific research. It could also potentially be used as a launching platform for spacecraft and satellites.

Similar threads

  • Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
19
Views
905
  • Special and General Relativity
Replies
11
Views
1K
  • Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
Replies
14
Views
3K
Replies
18
Views
3K
Replies
7
Views
2K
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
Replies
25
Views
5K
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
Replies
5
Views
5K
Back
Top