Category Archives: Science

What Causes Tornados

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms and is categorized as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. Typically tornados appear as rotating, funnel like clouds which extends from within a thunderstorm to the ground. Pretty to look at but devastating on nature with severe winds which can reach speeds of 300 miles per hour. Studies have shown that Tornadoes are more likely to form between the hours of 3pm and 9pm although it the results are caveated in that tornados can occur at any time and occasionally, tornadoes develop so quickly that little, if any at all, advance warning is possible.

The average advancing speed of a tornado is around 30mph however this can vary
significantly from an almost motionless speed to acceleration of up to 70mph in addition to rotating winds in excess of 250mph. If these forces of nature were not enough, a strong Tornados can also accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they begin to move onto land.

So what causes Tornados?

Tornados are caused by cold and warm air joining together violently including fronts, lows, highs, and prevailing wind patterns. The arch nemesis of the Tornado, the Supercell often forms from a regular thunderstorm, although can be generated independently. Supercells in contrast typically produce substantial amounts of rain, severe winds,
enormous air downdrafts, hail, as well as tornadoes themselves.

Tornado Watches

Tornado Watches and their immediate alerts signify that there is a potential of tornadoes forming in the local area. Individuals within a particular watch area when notified of a tornado should be ready to react quickly should a warning be issued or if they believe that a tornado is approaching. In most countries where tornados and
hurricanes are prevalent National Weather Services typically issue tornado
watches/alerts whenever tornadoes are possible within the local vicinity. Being prepared for these alerts is crucial and it is recommended that individuals whom reside in high risk areas should review their disaster plans to include the safety and location of family members, access to radio or televisions well before any alerts are issued.


Under typically circumstances, ocean water needs to achieve a temperature above 79 degrees for a hurricane to form, as a consequence, Hurricanes generally develop during the late summer months into the early fall when atmospheric and water temperature conditions are at their optimal. Hurricanes and tropical storms can also help develop
microburst’s, and storm surges which is effectively a rapid rise in water levels which is generated from the winds pushing the water inland. These and storm surges which impact coastal regions, cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Although
immensely powerful a beautiful sight is the tranquil centre of a hurricane named the eye, this is one of the most
recognisable aspects of these storms being a very distinctive picture within the many satellite images taken during the storm seasons.

Storm Categories

  • Category Five – sustained winds of 156mph +
  • Category Four – sustained winds from 131 to 155mph
  • Category Three – sustained winds of up to 111?130mph
  • Category Two – sustained winds of up to 96?110mph
  • Category One – sustained winds of up to 74?95mph

Faraday Cage and How To Protect Yourself From Lightning

Lightning over the outskirts of Oradea, Romani...
Image via Wikipedia

The Faraday cage is an electrical device intended to avert the passage of electromagnetic waves, either incorporating them in or prohibiting them from its interior space. In simple terms it describes how the lightning charge does not transport through the interior of a hollow vessel.

In physical terms, the Faraday box, cage or shield is a sizable metal enclosure that shields the interior of the cage from exterior electromagnetism. The modern day devices are able to almost completely cease an assault using electromagnetism such as an Electro Magnetic Pulse and are therefore, employed in a variety of security environments.

Faraday devices are named after the groundbreaking British physicist, Michael Faraday, one of the creators of modern electrical science. Faraday existed from 1791 to 1867 and is frequently deliberated to be the finest experimentalist in the range of electricity and magnetism. Faraday built the first device in 1836 to significant acclaim.

Although unknown to most the, principal protective measure we can all make from a lightning strike is to get or remain inside a Faraday cage, and it may surprise you to know that we all pretty much have access to one of these devices which is of course a motor car. Despite common perceptions around the rubber tyres from cars routing and thereby saving the lives of occupants is actually not down to the four rubber compound tyres but in fact, due to the existence of the Faraday cage within most vehicles (canvas topped convertibles being the majority exceptions).

Lightning discharges widely carry 50,000 amperes of charge at hundreds of thousands of volts. When a motor vehicle is hit by lightning, the metal frame comes to be a Faraday cage drawing the electricity away from the individuals inside.

The operation of the Faraday cage’s brilliance pivots on the fact that an external static electrical field will motivate the electrical charges within the enclosure’s conducting matter to reappropriate themselves to cancel the field’s effects within the enclosure’s core , in our example, the occupants of a vehicle. Over and above weak signal calculations, the shield is also practical for removing electrical interference, particularly line frequency noise and the most collective usage averts electronic apparatus from being disabled by lightning strikes.

If you are sheltering from a lightning strike without reservation the safest location is inside a Faraday cage and not under a tree as the urban legend suggests. Speaking of lightning striking tress, it is interesting to also point out that when a tree is struck by lightning it is not the actual lightning bolt which often ‘splits’ tress in half but in fact, a consequence of near instantaneous boiling of the tree’s water molecules (induced through the immense heat generated from the lightning) thereby fracturing and causing the splitting effect.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Entanglement – The Spooky Quantum

Entanglement is a creepy quantum result by way of particles becoming closely bound, so that quantifying a property on one, instantly influences the others no matter how much distance separates the two. It is however an intrinsic resource in quantum science, nicknamed ‘spooky action at a distance’ by Albert Einstein and is one of the properties of quantum mechanics that resulted in Einstein and other people to dislike the hypothesis.

Albert Einstein regarded the connection between two particles having contravened the relativity rule that information cannot journey quicker than the speed of light. Einstein was on no account pleased with the implications of quantum theory and during the now renowned 1927 Solvay convention he suggested a number of thought trials which he inferred exposed defects in the theory arguing that quantum mechanics is not a complete physical theory.

Even so, in 1935 Einstein and two associates, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen illustrated a thought experiment frequently directed to as the EPR paradox, the suggestions of which shook quantum theory. In essence, the EPR paradox confronted long held theories about the relationship amongst the observed values of physical quantities and the values which can be accounted for by a physical theory. If the concealed variable quantities stop engaging when they are a long way apart, the statistics of numerous measurements must bow to an disparity called ‘Bells inequality’, this is, however, disobeyed both by quantum mechanical theory and in tests in the laboratory.

Comprehension of how some of the attributes of a particle can come to be entangled by way of relative movement only when they appeared to be unentangled or unattached when at rest may well have many applications, synchronizing atomic clocks for example, which are fundamental for navigating spacecraft in deep space. This method, which has been displayed theoretically, obliges that the transmitter and receiver share sets of two entangled particles. Therefore, upon two or more atoms or subatomic particles becoming entangled, any modification to one is instantly mirrored by the same modification in the other.

In spite of the fact that two entangled systems look to interact across large spatial distances, current thinking is that with further research a degree of functional data may possibly be able to be conveyed in this manner, although this is undoubtedly some way off yet. Researchers are however of the opinion that quantum mechanics holds significant advancements in science and the current belief is that there is much more to quantum mechanics than they currently understand.

How Do Thunderstorms and Lightning Form?

Thunderstorms and lightning are formed by the consequences of an energy disparity in the atmosphere. In the easiest of terms, it is when the atmosphere comes to be excessively warm in its bottommost layers in comparison to the higher layers. Thunderstorms are a forceful illustration of atmospherical convection, with an up thrust and cooling air, and resulting cloud formation and are for the most part frequent in tropical zones, and are uncommon in Arctic countries on account of of cold surface temperatures.

Thunderstorms have several discerning attributes that can result in sizeable amounts of destruction to people and their possessions including causing heavy rain for a short time, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and are conventionally around 15 miles in width. There are 4 principal categories of thunderstorms namely, single cell, multi-cell, squall line and super-cell. Surrounded by a group of thunderstorms, the expression “cell” relates to each distinct updraft and whilst the majority of single cell thunderstorms move, there are some uncommon incidents where they endure without much movement.

Lightening forms and manifests itself in the shape of a sizeable spark, or eruption of electric charge, that passes through the air from one charged area of a cloud to another charged area. It originates from a release of electrical energy, which is built up within the thundercloud cloud pursuant to recurrent separation and splitting of water and ice fragments in the turbulent storm environment which discharges when the amassed electric charge develops into a sufficiently large enough charge.

Lightning can be sheet lightning taking place within the cloud or fork lightning amongst clouds.

Lightning Stikes
Lightning Stikes

The lightning itself causes a fast warming of the nearby air, resulting in a abrupt enlargement and shrinking of air that is perceived as thunder. The noise of thunder is in fact caused by the amassed electricity striking the air and causing it to reverberate, this vibration causes a sound ultimately as a result of the extremely hot air pushing against the air particles initiating another reverbation. The rumbling noise of thunder is produced by the vibration or noise bouncing off the surface and the clouds.

Close to the lightning strike the thunder clap may be overheard as a brief booming crack. At a distance, the thunder reverberates causing the rolling thunder sound, because sound from distinctive sections of the lightning strike is not all heard at the same moment. It is possible to approximate how far away in the distance a lightning strike is by calculating the duration taken for the thunder to materialize at your current location. This is achieved by counting the seconds from the appearance of the lightning strike to the first rumbling of thunder, subsequently dividing this period by 5.

It is assessed at any given time approximately 2,000 electric storms are in progression over the World’s surface, and lightning forms and strikes the Planet one hundred times each second. Thunderstorms have been recognized to form in virtually every region of the globe, notwithstanding the fact that they are uncommon in the Arctic territories given the absence of consistent high temperatures. These amazing storms are as some believe nature’s methods of balancing the electrical forces that subsist amid the Earth and the upper atmosphere a natural pressure valve if you will.

Collision Theory Science Simply Explained

Collision theory science is a hypothesis, suggested by Max Trautz and William Lewis in 1916 that clearly illustrates how chemical responses take place and why reaction rates vary for various reactions. The collision theory is founded on the presumption that for a reaction to happen it is required for the reacting type (molecules or atoms) to draw near or to collide with each other. It is in essence a set of doctrines which describe the effects of various influences on the speed of a reaction. It is primarily used to illustrate why varying the particle measurement, temperature or denseness of reactants will change the reaction rate.

A primary comprehension of collision theory science allows us to foresee the types of experiments we may be able to conduct which will alter the rate of a chemical reaction. A pre defined quantity of energy is required to manufacture a chemical modification so the reaction must be oriented by a means favourable to the required rearrangement of molecules and electrons.

There are a variety of methods in which you can stimulate the reaction to occur for example, warming it up, varying the surface area, altering the pressure, concentration or by introducing some form of accelerator. Furthermore, the theory presumes that the greater part of collisions do not initiate a reaction, other than those in which the colliding mediums have a kinetic energy larger than a specific minimum, named ‘activation energy’.

Collision Theory Science
Collision Theory Science

Expanding the temperature range of a reaction boosts the kinetic energy of the particles which in turn increases the quantity of collisions meaning the reaction rate also rises. However, as the temperature surges, not simply does the amount of collisions per second rise but in addition the ratio of collisions which have a kinetic energy the same or larger than Ea, the activation energy, increases. This upsurge in possible energy is directly aligned to an energy limit over which the reactant atoms must cross if the reaction is to go ahead.

Considering that atomic or molecular frequencies of collisions can be considered with some level of exactness exclusively for gases (through implementation of the kinetic assumption), the application of the collision theory is ordinarily restrcited to gas phase reactions.