Reel Physics: The Avengers - Helicarrier

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The Avengers - Helicarrier

This week we find out if The Avengers helicarrier also has super powers.

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I think a better question would be "would it be worth it?"

Best episode yet guys. And I'll thank you not to refer to Scarlet Johanson as a "hoe-efficient"

erttheking:
I think a better question would be "would it be worth it?"

Yes

I demand a follow-up for Thor's Hammer. Only Thor is able to carry it, but it's an immovable object to everyone else. In the movie, Hulk was pinned down by it, so even he couldn't move it. So why was he able to carry Thor carrying Thor's Hammer? 0_o

But doesn't each engine pod have three rotor whatsits, not two? One above and below Iron Man and the one in the middle he's pushing around?

Been a while since I last watched the film, admittedly.

1nfinite_Cros5:
I demand a follow-up for Thor's Hammer. Only Thor is able to carry it, but it's an immovable object to everyone else. In the movie, Hulk was pinned down by it, so even he couldn't move it. So why was he able to carry Thor carrying Thor's Hammer? 0_o

Because Thor was carrying Mjolnir, thus Mjolnir is allowed to move.

1nfinite_Cros5:
I demand a follow-up for Thor's Hammer. Only Thor is able to carry it, but it's an immovable object to everyone else. In the movie, Hulk was pinned down by it, so even he couldn't move it. So why was he able to carry Thor carrying Thor's Hammer? 0_o

The hammer is magical and Hulk was carrying Thor, not the hammer, thus negating the hammer's magic. Even Thor is too weak to carry the hammer at times, it only works for him because he is worthy, when he holds it he makes the impossible weight restriction of the hammer disappear.

1nfinite_Cros5:
I demand a follow-up for Thor's Hammer. Only Thor is able to carry it, but it's an immovable object to everyone else. In the movie, Hulk was pinned down by it, so even he couldn't move it. So why was he able to carry Thor carrying Thor's Hammer? 0_o

It's magic, and has to do with wielding the weapon. There are very specific requirements to be able to wield Mjolnir in the comics, which is why it was a big deal when Beta Ray Bill was able to do it. Picking up Thor when he has the hammer isn't the same as wielding it. This is also something that has been exploited in the past with people being able to keep Thor away from his Hammer in various ways as a way of putting him in jeopardy. You might not be able to pick up the weapon and use it, but encasing it in a force field, or dragging it with a tractor beam are both possible (though in comics it does depend on the writer).

In a general sense Thor Vs. The Hulk has been a classic match up, typically The Hulk pwns the crud out of Thor (and pretty much anyone else). Whether The Hulk can lift Thor's Hammer and smack him with it, depends on the writer. It pretty much comes down to an immovable object meeting an unresistable force, as The Hulk is typically defined as literally being the Strongest thing in The Marvel Universe when he gets mad enough.

A couple of other similar situations involve The Blob, who is by definition supposed to be immovable when he roots himself (and has insane amounts of damage resistance, especially when it comes to people who try and use melee attacks on him which frequently ends badly, not even Wolverine has been able to hurt The Blob using adamantium, having gotten himself absorbed in the past), and say The Juggernaut who as one of his power is supposed to be literally unstoppable when moving forward, a power which is more impressive than his strength. How effective that is depends as he's done everything from smash through buildings with little or no resistabnce, to being slowed by Ice Man who has been able to paralyze him temporarily by freezing him in ice despite all common sense (though it rarely works for all). An old comics match up which to my knowlege they never did (though it might have happened before) is what would happen if say The Blob rooted himself and Juggernaut charged him full steam. Two directly contridictory powers, a common thought on this is that The Blob wouldn't be hurt, but whatever he rooted himself to would probably be uprooted by the impact, unless he was rooted to something unbreakable, like an enchanted planet made of adamantium... which brings us back to the same question.... like everything though, it depends on the writer and the needs of the plot.

Also it's kind of ironic but The Blob is probably one of the tougher super villains out there when you get down to it. He rarely gets defeated as odd as that sounds, even when he's on teams, more often than not he gives up when everyone else gets stomped, though it does happen. 'Ol Fred J. Dukes deserves a bit more credit I think. I remember an old bit with Cable leading The New Mutants when they pretty much wound up fleeing The Blob. ;)

Loop Stricken:
But doesn't each engine pod have three rotor whatsits, not two? One above and below Iron Man and the one in the middle he's pushing around?

It would have had to have 30 for that thing to fly. Not exactly a close call there. :)

Thanks for putting american units of measurement in this one guys! Much better than metric only.

Loop Stricken:
But doesn't each engine pod have three rotor whatsits, not two? One above and below Iron Man and the one in the middle he's pushing around?

Been a while since I last watched the film, admittedly.

I think they covered that, but didn't diagram it out. Their calculations were based on 18 blades per rotor, which I think was 6 on each of 3 levels.

1nfinite_Cros5:
I demand a follow-up for Thor's Hammer. Only Thor is able to carry it, but it's an immovable object to everyone else. In the movie, Hulk was pinned down by it, so even he couldn't move it. So why was he able to carry Thor carrying Thor's Hammer? 0_o

That ones down to magic.

As seen in Thor (the movie) Odin put a spell on Mjolnir so that "only the worthy can wield the power of Thor".

Thor himself got over his issues over the course of that same movie, and got his weapon of choice back.

1nfinite_Cros5:
I demand a follow-up for Thor's Hammer. Only Thor is able to carry it, but it's an immovable object to everyone else. In the movie, Hulk was pinned down by it, so even he couldn't move it. So why was he able to carry Thor carrying Thor's Hammer? 0_o

Because Thor is carrying Thor's hammer. Thor's Hammer (cant spell the name for shit) weighs nothing in Thor's hands (or anyone that is found worthy to wield it), so when Thor is holding it, its massive weight is negated. Alternatively, it magic, the massive weight could only apply to people trying to lift it, and any other time, be about as heavy as any other hammer its size.

Thats my take on it atleast...

Therumancer:
How effective that is depends as he's done everything from smash through buildings with little or no resistabnce, to being slowed by Ice Man who has been able to paralyze him temporarily by freezing him in ice despite all common sense (though it rarely works for all).

Well, technically, movement is energy. Cold is the absence of heat, and heat is the movement of atoms; also energy. Meaning having powers dealing with cold is technically the power to drain energy. If you can nullify the movement of atoms, I don't think being able to nullify kinetic energy is that much of a stretch. Maybe they were accidentally correct?

But the fans moved faster than Iron Man and didn't he like break some really high speed velocity in one fo his movies?
I really need to find a movie to reccommend soon... Must start watching some more films :P

Pretty sure the blade-speed was significantly faster than a blackhawk, seeing as Iron Man couldn't keep up with it once it approached top speed, and we know he's super-sonic capable.

Of course, a supersonic hellicopter blade is well beyond my aerospace engineering knowledge, and I suspect that it simply wouldn't work at all...

Don Reba:

Loop Stricken:
But doesn't each engine pod have three rotor whatsits, not two? One above and below Iron Man and the one in the middle he's pushing around?

It would have had to have 30 for that thing to fly. Not exactly a close call there. :)

And even that's assuming that the rotors and rotor mounts themselves weigh nothing!

Let's not forget that the carrier is able to stay in the air on only 3 rotors, making the required thrust per rotor even higher.

But what if we made the carrier out of styrofoam?

be a good boy, Buji.
Don't immediately post about Scarlet's hotness coefficient being over nine thousand.

Wait! Meta-reference doesn't count right!?

Doesn't a ducted fan have more lift than an open open one not sure how much it reduces top losses massively but at the same time the bit where it flies on three engines. Though that sidesteps the masses of water question.

Sea men.

I see what you did there.

Yeah, pretty sure we did all know that you can't turn a carrier into a flying fortress using giant fans. Even assuming the fans WERE strong enough to lift it, the suction over to top of them would be ridiculously strong, easily strong enough to suck Cap'n and Bannor over the edge when they watch the fan spin up to full power.

Therumancer:
Snip

My theory of ol' Juggs vs The Blob would be that just before impact, a sort of cosmic vortex would open creating an infinitely vast expansion of the fabric of time and space confined within the distance between Juggernaut and The Blob. That is to say, Juggernaut would never actually reach The Blob, every step he takes would be half the distance between him and The Blob, so he'd always get closer but would never actually reach him. To someone observing from the outside, it would look as though Juggernaut were running with his face against an invisible wall as though he had reached the edge of a map in a videogame.

Hey, I think it works. :3

What i love about this show is, wow that physics is awesome.....but then its a movie so who cares. :-)

Here's what I'm missing with this calculation:

At 4:22, it was stated that a **single rotor** (emphasis mine) generates ~64,000 kN of thrust.

The weights of the various materials was listed starting at 5:52 at a million, 300,000 and 200,000 kN.

My first assumption was that by a single rotor, you meant one of the four engines, which would be a total of almost 257,000 kN. That's enough to lift the carbon fiber carrier.

If I understand correctly that each engine had TWO rotors, that generates 513,544kN of thrust. That's more than enough to keep the aluminum carrier in the air, even if one of the engines shut down (two engines would be too much, which is consistent with the script).

Obviously there's a lot of leeway here, as the carrier was almost certainly not aluminum, and we're not accounting for the weight of the engines, etc. But still, this one doesn't seem to be out of the ballpark at all, unless there was a mis-statement in the video about the 64,000 kN being for only one rotor. I didn't re-create the calculations or anything, I'm just going on what they said and multiplying the thrust times the number of rotors.

Am I missing something?

Hey everyone, I am a bit late this week with jumping in here and I haven't read any comments yet... but once again, thanks to everyone for your suggestions and for all of the great feedback so far. I always look forward to Tuesdays and all of your comments! Now here I go off to read all of them!

Jason Dean
REEL PHYSICS

FelixG:
Thanks for putting american units of measurement in this one guys! Much better than metric only.

Concurred. I really prefer it this way as I like knowing the measurements of what's going on.

Anakinnnn:
Snip

Thanks Jason, Loved the episode. Don't have any suggestions sorry but keep up the good work :)

JarinArenos:
Pretty sure the blade-speed was significantly faster than a blackhawk, seeing as Iron Man couldn't keep up with it once it approached top speed, and we know he's super-sonic capable.

Of course, a supersonic hellicopter blade is well beyond my aerospace engineering knowledge, and I suspect that it simply wouldn't work at all...

When rotor blades break the sound barrier odd things happen in forward flight, the advancing rotor is slower than the retreating blade and it causes Dissymmetry of lift. If the blade breaks the sound barrier the stability goes to hell and it gains and loses lift at the same time and can cause loss of control over the blades.

There are some experimental blades that are designed to just stay short of supersonic speeds, these allow very high forward speeds. Most of the time in normal conditions most blades leave a margin between operational speed and supersonic blade speed.

i really never got the hype about the carrier.

that thing goes to shit if even one of the 4 turbines has a malfunction.

Therumancer:
In a general sense Thor Vs. The Hulk has been a classic match up, typically The Hulk pwns the crud out of Thor (and pretty much anyone else). Whether The Hulk can lift Thor's Hammer and smack him with it, depends on the writer. It pretty much comes down to an immovable object meeting an irresistable force, as The Hulk is typically defined as literally being the Strongest thing in The Marvel Universe when he gets mad enough.

The Hulk doesn't pick up Mjollnir, he grabs it and pushes the planet away with his feet.

Also, I think this has taught us that with some advancements in material science and a couple more fans, the helicarrier is actually plausible. Until you add all the personnel and equipment that is, but at least it would fall out of the sky quite slowly.

J Tyran:

JarinArenos:
Pretty sure the blade-speed was significantly faster than a blackhawk, seeing as Iron Man couldn't keep up with it once it approached top speed, and we know he's super-sonic capable.

Of course, a supersonic hellicopter blade is well beyond my aerospace engineering knowledge, and I suspect that it simply wouldn't work at all...

When rotor blades break the sound barrier odd things happen in forward flight, the advancing rotor is slower than the retreating blade and it causes Dissymmetry of lift. If the blade breaks the sound barrier the stability goes to hell and it gains and loses lift at the same time and can cause loss of control over the blades.

There are some experimental blades that are designed to just stay short of supersonic speeds, these allow very high forward speeds. Most of the time in normal conditions most blades leave a margin between operational speed and supersonic blade speed.

Yes, generally speaking for helicopters you can't have a blade move at supersonic speed, however, these nacelles appear to be more like duct fans rather than helicopter blades. I don't know if duct fans can spin at supersonic speeds though, but I would think the enclosed blades would mitigate some of the issues. Fun episode none the less and I look forward to more.

Great topic and a fun one. Although with the shape of the fans and that weird shell around it, I wonder if the fans could exceed the speed of sound without producing a sonic boom due to either the blade shape or intake design. Also, just because it looks like a Nimitz does not mean it has to weigh as much as one. The UK's Ark Royal carrier was designed along commercial shipping lines rather then warship design levels of redundancy(it wasn't made to take a hit) and it weighs only a sixth as much despite looking at least half as big. If you do the weight replacement of carbon fiber on it then it does actually work (sort of... and it still should probably have plummeted or broken apart when it lost one....). It's still not quite up to to it but its pretty close.

I'm not sure the Nimitz is a great weight comparison.

If you assume the final version is similar to the concept art (Since we don't really see much hangar action), the Helicarrier appears to be mostly hangar bay. As it is presumably powered by magic (since power is the biggest hurdle to keeping such a monstrosity in the air, even the USN has said so), it doesn't seem to require the engineering spaces or machinery that present carriers do. Combined with the fact that it carries a smaller air wing (lots of hangar space lost to pretty downward opening doors), and construction with lightweight materials, I wonder if the weight might get low enough to be in the ballpark.

Of course, even if you can get it in the air, then you run into a whole other bunch of concerns about it actually being useful, but one step at a time I suppose.

But I was sooooo sure this was possible! ;)

My reaction to the helicarrier was "omg how ridiculous". But then when it lifted into the sky I thought, "well I could totally see that in the pages of a comic book, and this is a comic book movie, so, free-pass."

Not to mention aren't movies with super heroes pretty much throwing reality to the wind in the first place?

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