Back Issues

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Buggy Physics Of Superman (Part Two)

One of the most iconic scenes from the Superman films is that of Superman and Lois Lane flying over Metropolis. Superman floats down to Lois’s apartment windows and offers her his hand. She takes it and they go for a ride through the night air. At first, he carries her but, after no time at all, they are flying at arm’s length, wind combing through both of their hair. This scene, although lovely, ignores every law of Physics. Depending on how you read this scene, Lois Lane should either have been dangling from Superman’s outstretched arm or her arm should’ve been torn off. The speed of the scene suggests that the former should have happened. Lois appears, in the scene, to have achieved enough acceleration to have Lift. Lift is what allows planes to fly. To achieve flight, Lois’s lift had to be equal or greater than her weight and her Thrust Force, what is propelling her forward, must be greater than the Drag Force, wind-resistance, acting on her body. Lois’s body is completely horizontal, but both she and Superman are moving far too slow for that to be possible. It appears that her Thrust Force is too weak for flight. They’re moving like two kites on a strong breeze. I could be mistaken and both Superman and Lois could be flying fast enough to allow for Lois’s flight. I have to assume that Lois Lane weighs approximately 111lbs. Superman is reported to weigh 215lbs. That is a combined weight of 326lbs. Superman, Lois’s mode of acceleration, would need to provide -326lbs of Lift force. That, as I stated above, causes its own share of problems.

I had mentioned Tensile Strength earlier in this paper. Tensile Strength refers to the ability of an object to be stressed without breaking apart. The Tensile Strength of a human arm averages around 600lbs of force, applied. As I stated before, Superman has to provide 326lbs of Lift. The acceleration is acting on Lois’s very human body. This means, without factoring in the Thrust Force, Lois’s arm is more than halfway to the point of being torn from her body.

On average, a small Ultra-Light plane flies at 100mph at Take-Off. Lois Lane, most likely, weighs less than a piloted Ultra-Light plane. Lois, also, doesn’t have massive wings that would help her remain aloft. Because women tend not to fly, with or without Superman’s help, it is difficult to figure out what speed she would need to fly through the air. For the sake of argument, I will assume that Lois needs 100mph of Thrust Force. This means that she is experiencing -100mph of Drag Force. This all lends to the assumption that Lois Lane wouldn’t think much of Superman’s romantic gesture.

No comments:

Post a Comment