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Summer Assignment - resulting slick

  1. Aug 8, 2006 #1
    Ive seen questions like this one done here before but I dont think im understanding this well. The question is:

    Suppose 300 cubic meters of oil is spilled into the ocean. Find the are of the resulting slick, assuming that it is one molecule thick, and each moelcule occupies a cube .50 um (micrometers) on a side.

    I believe the proper formula for this situation is Area=Volume/Depth. So then I would do Area=300 meters cubed/.5 micrometers. Convert the micrometers to meters and get Area=300 meters cubed/.0000005 meters and have my answer being 600,000,000 meters squared.

    Is that right though? For some reason I think its wrong, and I hadn't any idea what to do at all until i found the formula but it just seems like...I dont know, a bit too easy and like maybe im missing something. It also appears that the answer is ridiculously large, but maybe its supposed to be like that? Any help on this would be appreciated, I would be shocked if what I did was correct.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2006 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Maybe an easier way (or just a double-check on your answer) would be to figure out how many molecules there are in 300m^3 of oil and do the area math. Do you know how to figure out how many molecules there are in 300m^3 of oil?
  4. Aug 8, 2006 #3


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Gold Member

    Looks right to me.

    berkeman, I don't think that's an easier way ;)
  5. Aug 9, 2006 #4
    Im not sure what you mean by your way but, you say I actually did it right? Thanks for confirming what I did, I was having a lot of trouble on that problem and didn't even get as far as finding the area formula until I foudn this website, which is when I quit guessing what to do and trying to look it up becuase I was so confused.
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