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Which liquid would be the best to swim up in?

  1. Feb 9, 2017 #1
    A friend and I were debating this.

    Would you be better trying to swim to the surface of 20 feet of alcohol or 20 feet of honey.

    We can figure out that swimming out of alcohol is rather hopeless due to density but for honey we have no way to consider the viscosity of the liquid. Any thoughts?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2017 #2

    berkeman

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    What the heck are you asking about?

    Viscosity of alcohol (which version?) is close to water. Why would it be hard to swim to the surface?
     
  4. Feb 9, 2017 #3
    What type of alcohol? Ethanol? Methanol? More details needed
     
  5. Feb 9, 2017 #4
  6. Feb 9, 2017 #5

    berkeman

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    The alcohol is on fire?
     
  7. Feb 10, 2017 #6

    Student100

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    You wouldn't be able to swim very well in honey, but you'd float with little effort. So assuming 20ft of honey didn't crush you first, you'd float to the top without trying very hard.

    Alcholol would get absorbed too easily, so while you could swim, you probably wouldn't be conscious very long.
     
  8. Feb 10, 2017 #7

    Borek

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    If I understand the question properly, in both cases you start 20 ft below the surface?

    I see no way of surviving in neither case. Our density is very similar to water, so with full lungs we in fact float near the surface, there is no need for a substantial effort to keep us there (most of the struggle is to keep head high enough for breathing). In ethanol - because of a low density - you will sink to the bottom, it would be like trying to swim in water with a 20 kg stone attached. In honey you won't get to the surface fast enough to survive (although after some time your body will be much easier to collect, as it will reach the surface on its own).
     
  9. Feb 10, 2017 #8
    Evidently the alcohol end of this question is one that fascinates many, since Googling unearths a rich lode of hits. The OP has already been given some particularly macabre answers; here's a link to more:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-s...jumped-in-a-pool-full-of-alcohol-8940636.html

    The scenario envisioned in the above link is a tiny bit different - "what happens if I jump into a swimming pool full of hard alcohol" - but the results are deemed to just as unpleasantly fatal. E.g.:

    "As you are in the air, you will likely begin to feel the effects of alcohol inhalation. Enjoy the few fractions of a second of buzz – things are about to get bad. As you hit, you'll get a preview of what you're in for. Small cuts on your feet and legs will sting, and maybe your skin will start to chill and feel like you just suddenly did the reverse of moisturising.

    "Then the real pain will start – as you hit the first sensitive parts of your body, where live cells are exposed, or where the skin is thinner and nerves are clustered. As your sexual organs and anus submerge you will feel pain like the wrong end of the nastiest bowl of Texas chilli you ever imagined."
     
  10. Feb 10, 2017 #9
    But you might be OK with wine . . .

     
  11. Feb 10, 2017 #10
    The Mythbusters explored what happens when swimming in liquids much denser than water.
     
  12. Feb 10, 2017 #11
    Honey is 1.42 times as dense as water, but 10,000 times as viscous. I think it would take far too much energy to move 20ft through it in the time you could hold your breath.
     
  13. Feb 10, 2017 #12

    Student100

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    That seems a bit high, what tempature are you looking at?
     
  14. Feb 10, 2017 #13
    http://www.vp-scientific.com/Viscosity_Tables.htm

    Another source quotes it as being 2000-3000 cps, and water at 1-5 cps. Still, it's many times more viscous than it is dense - so the added buoyancy doesn’t seem like it will offset the viscosity that much.
     
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