April 8, 2013
Physics Essay (Culture 2)
Superman is a classic icon in American culture, and he is capable of super-human feats. Take for instance the classic scenario Lois Lane is in trouble and manages to fall from the top of an extremely large building. Superman simply flies up to catch her, thus saving the day. However, this situation has several factors that would be problematic for many obvious reasons. One of which, how she manages to perfectly unharmed, without a scratch on her, let alone survive the impact of Superman swooping in at top speed to catch her. From street level, Superman spots Lois Lane in trouble-the evil villain, Lex Luthor, is dropping her from near the top of the Empire State Building. At that very instant, the Man of Steel starts upward at a constant acceleration to attempt a midair rescue of Lois. Lois Lane dangles from the top of a building and then falls. From the video, it is difficult to tell just how tall the building is, or how far she fell. I assumed that she fell about 20 stories, or 200 feet (61 meters). If the absence of air resistance is assumed, you can find her final velocity using the equation: We know her initial velocity was 0 m/s, acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m/s^2, and she fell 61 meters. After plugging in these values, the final velocity was determined to be 34.6 m/s. To put this in terms that can be visualized, Lois Lane was falling at a speed of about 77mph when superman caught her. I then assumed that Lois Lane had a mass of about 60 kg, and used this to calculate how much work she was doing. When Superman actually catches Lois, he is accelerating upward, therefore decreasing the amount of time it takes to bring her to a stop. It is difficult to determine exactly how long it took for her motion to stop, but I am going to assume it was around 0.3 seconds. Since this time is short, I can expect the force it takes to bring her to a stop to be very large.
Therefore it takes...
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