Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The physics of spider man 2

  1. Jul 3, 2004 #1
    hey i just watched spidey man2 and was wondering about that fusion thingy that "doctor octopus" created. what is it supposed to be? some sort of power source? i heard them saying something about perpetual motion.. could anyone explain what that is to me?
    and.. at the very last part they drowned the huge fire thingy ( i dont know what to call that).. well my question is is that possible in real life? i mean can such a giant ball of firey substance just be stopped by drowning it?
    i dont even know if these are sensible questions but pls try to help anyways..
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2004 #2
    I was absolutely confused as to how that worked also. They said something about harnessing the suns power. I thought that they used tritium (isotope of hydrogen) as their "fuel" for fusion (stars use hydrogen). They would then heat it to extreme temperatures to induce fusion. However, when doc oc did it the first time, the star wouldn't reach an equilibrium (between gravity pulling inwards and pressure pushing outwards [stabilize as they called it]) and thus it exploded (much like a supernova). I think the mini star cannot sustain itself unless it stabilizes. While it is attempting to stabilize the power must be on to constantly allow the tritium fusion to occur. However, the star cannot simply be drowned. If water got anywhere near it, it would evaporate. Ergo, spidey had to shut the power off before it could be drowned in the water.

    Now, i could be completely wrong. Does anyone know how it actually worked?
  4. Jul 3, 2004 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    They used comic book physics, which bears no resemblance to real physics.
  5. Jul 4, 2004 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I just saw this movie yesterday, and you are completely justified in your confusion. In this post, I will focus on onyl one aspect; the highly dangerous loss of containment that the movie presented as being such a dire event.

    In order for a fusion reaction to be sustained, there are a large number of factors which have to be maintained just exactly right. One of these factors is containment. If containment is lost, the reaction ceases. That is one of the reasons fusion power is so desirable, because it is so inherently safe. If the reaction were to run out of control, it will only cause the reaction to stop.

    If in fact one had some kind of fusion reaction proceeding in such a way that loss of containment would not cause immediate shutdown, then submersion in water would be useless at best, catastrophic more likely. Ever heard of the "China syndrome"? The dousing in water would set up a huge cloud of radioactive steam which would cover most of the state.
  6. Jul 6, 2004 #5
    shouldn't someone point out that there are spoilers in this thread :(
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook