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Methinks it will be awhile then… January 28, 2009

Posted by shubber in Uncategorized.
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xkcd nails it, again 🙂

space_elevators

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1. Elevated cynic - May 5, 2009

About that space elevator…

Fibers will sometimes break. The enormous elastic energy in the fiber adjacent to the break immediately turns into kinetic energy, like shooting a stretched rubber band. The velocity is like a rifle bullet (hint to students: use energy conservation). The fiber debris is aimed along the axis of the elevator, that is, at the rest of the fiber and neighboring strands. These strands are highly stressed. What happens to them when they’re hit? And then…? Blooey, then more blooey, I’d expect.

This calls for either an engineering analysis showing a robust design (seems to be missing), or an apology for wasting our time.


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