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Rotating spacestation. centrifugal force?

Posted on 2004-04-21
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A popular way of describing a way to generate a sort of artificial gravity was a spacestation shaped like a wheel, which cuz of the centrifugal force when spinning will keep it's occupants pressed against the outer inner edge of the wheel.  Also in Zero (or micro) gravity like in space.

but.
imagine that before it starts spinning, everyone is just floating around. It starts spinning....what happens? I believe nothing , everything (The walls or better yet, what is supposed to be the floor) just spins by and no one is pressed against the side....
so, no artificial gravity

Or am i wrong (again...that is very possible. :) ) Does the air in the station play part in the centrifugal force bit?
thanks
Marco

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Question by:EnolaKotrotsos
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by:EnolaKotrotsos
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Did I say outer inner edge?, well , you know what I mean...:)
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by:SteH
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Yes the inner side of the outer wall.

As long as the objects don't get in contact with the spinning station they will be staying where they are. You are correct so far. But friction will will start you spinning as soon as you touch a wall or an object fixed to the station. Not sure how long it would take that air pressure will start to move a heavy body. But it is possible as well. Gas molecules are making random moves all the time. And every time they hit a wall they will not bounce back but a momentum transfer from the wall. This will slowly make the gas inside rotating as well. And with time the gas should then make the floating objects move.
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by:PaulCaswell
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Marco,

1. The inmates would get severely space/seasick as they would percieve that they were stationary but the world is rotating.

2. After a while, as you say, the air would start to follow the station and begin the movement of the inmates towards the 'floor'.

3. As each inmate touches/smashes into the 'floor' (depending on the size/speed of the station) they will, perhaps after a few painful bounces, 'stick' to the floor.

4. The final result would probably be a rather messy space station depending on how prepared they are for the process.

My recommendations.

1. Provide each inmate with sick bags.

2. Provide each inmmate with clothing sufficient to protect themselves from the fall.

3. Do it all sufficiently slowly to avoid damage to the station by bouncing inmates.

Otherwise you will end up with a number of grazed limbs and a pretty smelly mess.

Paul
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OutsideTheBox earned 150 total points
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OK, here is my try,

 remember intro physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest.... a body in motion tends to stay in motion.... They will resist change in motion.

It is like being in a swiftly accelerating vehicle when the green light blinks on and you feel yourself thrown back in your seat. Your mass is resisting the change in motion. It wants to stay at rest but is being forced to move so you feel a force acting on you.

In the spinning space station if you are spinning with it you are moving but your mass wants to keep moving in the same direction. That vector would look like a straight line tangent to the circle described by the station. But the station says 'NO, YOU MUST NOT GO IN A STRAIGHT LINE, YOU MUSST FOLLOW ME ROUND A CIRCLE'. so the artificial gravity you feel is the resistance to to the change from a straight vector to a different straight vector.. then a different straight vector...etc. This is happening constatly as the station spins and feels like a constant force. This is that centrifugal force.

To feel this centrifugal force you must be being moved by the station. If the station is not spinning and then starts spinning, soon a frame or bulkhead or wall will come up and wap your behind and start you spinning with it. Thats like the car at the green light force. and it sends you on that first straight line vector. then the floor (Inner edge of outside wall) comes along and redirects you as in previous paragraph...etc...etc...etc.

The air flow through friction could start you moving. It would take longer.

The main concept is understanding the difference between circular motion & straight vector motion & the resistance to change.

Well, Does this make any sense??

Steve
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by:OutsideTheBox
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I was just trying to say something smart.

You are right I think, nothing would happen. until the air friction started moving you, then you would feel the force.

Steve
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by:EnolaKotrotsos
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Thank you all. OutSidetheBox really helped with understanding how it worked in practice..so did the others btw.. PaulCaswel, you gave a very funny answer and very true, would be fun for a Space Ball's 2 or something. :)

My childhood is wrecked, I alway's believed space stations would look like this...What lies!! :)
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