Here is five of the stranger phenomena - along with funny names - observable in our world. See how some of these great effects received their names and what they do. Some are as trivial as your morning breakfast cereal while other hold our universe and lives together. This would surely be a great conversation starter among friends, I know it was during my social gatherings. So welcome to my 5 favorite Scientific Effects.
1. The Leidenfrost Effect – The effect that causes a liquid when placed into a frying pan or any surface that is much higher than the liquid’s boiling point will produce a vapor layer that will keep that liquid from boiling and evaporating. The temperature that allows this phenomena to occur is called the Leidenfrost Point. When water comes in contact with a frying pan or skillet that is lower than the water’s boiling point then the water will just evaporate very slowly. If the pan is higher than the liquid’s boiling point but lower than the Leidenfrost Point, then the water will sizzle up and evaporate very quickly. However, if the pan is above or equal to the Leidenfrost Point, then the water will bounce around the surface and form together when colliding with each other. Also the Leindenfrost Effect can by performed easily in your own home. Just be careful since there are very high temperatures involved so please use common sense here and be careful. First take a pot (size doesn’t matter, it’s really just really) and place onto the stove. Don’t put anything in the pot and let it cook while dry. Heat up the pot on high between 5 ~ 10 minutes. Then pour a small droplet of water into the pot to see if the pot has reached the leidenfrost point. If the drop sizzles then continue to heat the pot longer, if the droplet scatters into a bunch of smaller drops without evaporating then you’ve accomplished this effect. Now you may laugh and giggle at this amazing effect.
2. The Brazil nut Effect – This effect occurs when nuts, grains or anything granular is shaken the larger object climb to the top while the smaller ones burrow deeper. This however is more professionally known as granular convection. But the “Brazil Nut Effect” sounds so much better, and would be a really funny conversation starter. The name is derived from a bowl of assorted nuts with the largest of them being the Brazil nut. After the bowl is shaken the Brazil nut would float near the top.
3. The Cheerios Effect – that’s right, there is something called the Cheerios Effect. This is the tendency for small hydrophilic (attracting water, like cheerios, paperclips, or leaves) to mush together or cling to the sides of a container or bowl. It obtained its name because of the way cheerios move around in your average bowl of milk. The same also applies to bubbles on the surface of drinks lo and behold, milk.
4. Mpemba Effect – This is one of the most astonishing and interesting effects I’ve ever heard of. The Mpemba Effect is when warm water freezes more quickly than cold water. This was first coined in 1963 by Tanzanian Erasto Mpemba when he was just 13 years old and in secondary school. When he showed his teacher he was rejected as instead of physics, but as “Mpemba Physics”. Now more than 40 years later this effect remains both controversial and unanswered.
5. The Butterfly Effect – This is one of my favorites because of how fragile this seems to make our world seem to be. The name came from Edward Norton Lorenz while running a theoretical example of a hurricane’s formation to be directly related to whether or not a butterfly had flapped its wings a couple of weeks before. Now it may seem ridiculous to think that the existence of a hurricane hinges on a single butterfly beating its wings but there is legitimacy to this, just give it some more time. In 1961 Edward ran a calculation with a computer model to re-predict a storm by using the rounded number 0.506 instead of the normal 0.506127 and the results were completely different from each other. After he published his theoretical paper called Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow in 1963, one meteorologist said that if this theory were to be true then a seagull flapping its wings could completely changing the course of weather history forever.
So what this really means is that small changes in the past can have a massive ripple effect through time changing everything in the present. Which is why if time travel were possible then changing the past would be incredibly dangerous and your actions will have unpredictable and significant consequences to the past depending on how much influence you had and how long ago you had traveled to the past However this butterfly effect really only applies if you were able to change something in the past, and because we can’t do today this phenomena has become a common trope in science-fiction and video games such as this EVE-Online game trailer which can help explain this is a simpler way, but in a less significant way as well (in my opinion anyways). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq2oxt7Nrxo
For a video demonstrating the first effect listed here, The Leidenfrost Effect click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHhAgzIVHvo
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