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ball falling in a space colony
#4
(09-20-2016, 08:31 AM)William Wrote: Have you done any modelling of the atmosphere in the colony? In particular I'd be curious as to what eddy currents are generated in the strong coriolis environment.

Great question!  I wish I had a great answer.

But unfortunately, that kind of modeling is really hard.  You'd have to use CFD simulation, which is very time-consuming (tends to be run on supercomputers to get a decent answer in a reasonable time) and easy to screw up if you don't know what you're doing.  I looked into it once (reviewing a paper from a guy who attempted it) and found that this probably is a particularly tricky one to model.

On general principles, we would expect the air to be more or less stationary with respect to the shell (that is, to rotate along with it).  That would be the lowest-energy state, since if it's doing anything else, then there's wind inside that you could extract energy from.

But of course it's not going to be perfectly stationary, because it's a compressible fluid, and the individual air molecules can't just travel around in circles.  So they're going to be constantly heading toward the floor, and then knocking into other air molecules and getting pushed back up... as you said, eddy currents will certainly form.  And then too there will be thermal effects, possibly causing convection currents.

It's all quite complicated and hard to simulate in a computer.  I could imagine some interesting benchtop experiments, though.  If anybody here is (or knows) an enterprising high school student in search of a science fair topic, we should have a chat!

Joe Strout
Lead Developer, High Frontier

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Messages In This Thread
ball falling in a space colony - JoeStrout - 09-18-2016, 09:17 PM
RE: ball falling in a space colony - JoeStrout - 09-20-2016, 09:03 AM

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