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

Trying to Express an Amount of Force

  1. Dec 11, 2012 #1
    So, I'm working on an article about the SHIELD Helicarrier. I determined that, even if the ducted fans and related machinery weighed nothing, it would still take over a billion newtons to allow an aircraft carrier to hover. Is there any good way to describe how ridiculous that amount of force is?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    It is equal to the force exerted by 1,457,725 (1.5 million) people on the Earth's surface for one thing. I'd say describing 1 billion newtons as the force required to lift an aircraft carrier is a pretty solid description.
  4. Dec 12, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I believe it's traditional in certain mainstream newspapers to convert it to the force exerted by a number of elephants standing on your foot...

    ..although I'm sure the vast majority of their readers have no idea what one elephant standing on your foot feels like.
  5. Dec 12, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    The force needed is just the Weight which, as stated above is just a bit less than 1billion Newtons, for a really big one.
  6. Dec 12, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Let's assume the four engines actually do produce enough force to keep the carrier airborne. Also, let's pretend they can work in space as well as in air.
    According to this handy calculator:
    were you to attach an elephant to these engines, it'd reach Alpha Centauri in 18 hours(elephant's time). It would have attained 0.9c in around an hour. The 10000g would probably not make for a pleasant journey though.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook