Sunday, November 20, 2005

80. In Local News... I

Some guy tried to drive a truck from Buckland to Kotzebue. He drove over the Chukchi sea. He thought the sea was frozen enough and the ice would support the truck. He was wrong.

Hi, Amy. This is just like a classical physics problem. The ice has to have a critical thickness to support a 1 kg mass at rest. As the mass increases, the thickness has to increase proportionally. If it does not, the ice cracks and the system loses potential energy to the pull of gravity.

To counteract this, the system needs the addition of kinetic energy, i.e., the truck needs to move. As the mass of the truck increasingly overpowers the thickness of the ice supporting it, the truck needs to move at a higher and higher velocity. In the calculus of limits, as the ice approaches zero thickness, the velocity of the truck must approach infinity.

So.... the only reason this guy's truck fell into the sea was that he wasn't driving fast enough (or he hit open water). LOL :-)
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