Well I clicked on the first link which was about BP's association with several oil exploration accidents... and that's what happens when you're involved in high risk endeavours like oil extraction at the boundary of human capability. You're comfortable with one astronaut dying for every ten missions which I think is too high given that there's hardly any of 'em there in the first place - don't worry, just replace 'em, right?
You've missed the point. Steve.... my comments about BP and NASA have been equally measured - yours haven't. You've got nothing whatsoever to say about NASA and yet you go on and on ad nauseam about BP's 'negligence' as though it were an established fact - it's not. You even thought they were using a pump when they didn't need to and your defence of that was something to behold - a case study in irrationality. A little more scepticism rather than knee-jerkism is what's needed on your side of the discussion, if I may say so.
Loc: Alexandria, VA
the oil is in a pipe... which takes buoyancy out of the equation.
No that's wrong - pressure operates on what's inside the pipe which if lighter than water will bring it to the surface. You can test this at home:
You do realize that experiment has nothing to do with buoyancy and everything to do with pressure, right? There's a reason a balloon is used: water pressure squeezes the balloon forcing the oil inside the balloon up the tube ...
In this case the oil isn't rising in the tube because it's lighter than water, but because the water pressure pushing on the balloon is enough to counter the air pressure in the tube pushing down on the oil ... here's a couple things to try with your experiment to test this:
Repeat the experiment, but instead of oil this time use something heavier than water -- let's say mercury (because it's fun and toxic!). The same thing will happen as with the oil: the mercury will rise in the tube when the balloon is immersed in the water ... not because it is buoyant in water (it obviously isn't), but because of the same pressure that pushed the oil up the tube ...
Repeat the experiment with oil again, but this time remove the balloon completely and just use the tube. Seal the bottom of the tube, put in a bit of the oil and immerse in the water as before. Stand in amazement as the oil just sits there ... not because it isn't buoyant in water (it obviously is), but because there's no pressure pushing it up the tube ...
In all of these cases, including the original experiment, buoyancy isn't a factor since the oil and mercury aren't interacting with water but with air, in which neither are buoyant.
In the case of the spill in the Gulf, once you've inserted the pipe into the well, you've presumably sealed-off the ocean from the oil inside the pipe, so you're removing buoyancy and water pressure as factors and it becomes more a matter of air pressure vs. oil pressure. So the question is wether the pressure of the oil (and let's not forget the millions of metric f*cktons of natural gas that's mixed-in, which *is* lighter than air *and* than the oil and introduces interesting additional interactions) is greater than that of the mile-or-so column of air above it (or, assuming the tube gets filled completely with oil, with the weight and pressure of the mile-or-so column of oil above it) ...
MacBozo theorizes the oil would gush to the surface in this circumstance. He might be right. But there's a LOT of pressure a mile down. Either way, there are tremendous forces at work to consider ...
There's a reason a balloon is used: water pressure squeezes the balloon forcing the oil inside the balloon up the tube]
No like I said to Sarge the container doesn't matter... place the oil in a wine glass and seal the top with cellophane making it water tight by wrapping an elastic band around the bowl of the glass. Insert the tube through the cellophane and immerse the the unit into water. The oil rises up through the tube to the reach the water level. Lift the unit out of the water and watch the oil fall down the tube.
Loc: Alexandria, VA
No like I said to Sarge the container doesn't matter... place the oil in a wine glass [...] The oil rises up through the tube to the reach the water level. Lift the unit out of the water and watch the oil fall down the tube.
You haven't actually tried this, have you?
If the subject is buoyancy, your experiment is too complex -- you don't need cellophane or a tube. Simply try this:
- Take the wine glass and fill it 1/4 full with oil - Immerse the wine glass 3/4 of its way into the water
Does the oil in the glass rise to the water line? If buoyancy is at work, it should, right?
Now, if you like, go ahead and place the tube in the oil -- essentially replicating your above experiment without the cellophane bit. Does the oil in the tube rise to the water level?
In either case, the oil doesn't rise due to buoyancy because it isn't in water in the first place -- there's nothing in the container, be it wine glass or tube, for the oil to be lighter than. Again, they didn't use a balloon in your first experiment just by chance. They used it to show the effect of water pressure pushing on the balloon to force the oil upwards in the tube. Without the balloon (or something with similar characteristics), that experiment doesn't work =)
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