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Author Topic: What would happen to an egg in space? Explode, implode or scrambled?  (Read 8738 times)

Offline GlentoranMark

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What would happen to it?

Help me please, I want a new way to cook an egg.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2010 10:50:17 by chris »


 

Offline lightarrow

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What would happen to it?

Help me please, I want a new way to cook an egg.
explodes.
 

Offline flr

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 Most likely nothing will happen to egg, because egg shell can take quite a lot of pressure.

 However, the strong radiations may in modify the structure of the proteins inside the egg, perhaps the egg will look after a while as a boiled one.
 
« Last Edit: 07/03/2010 03:36:12 by flr »
 

Offline syhprum

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I don't think you need to travel into 'space' a vacuum pump and a bell jar would soon resolve the question,perhaps the 'Mythbusters' would oblige ?.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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My guess is that you would start to get a frozen egg- the expansion would then crack the shell and you would get a freeze-dried scrambled egg.
 

Offline LeeE

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In the short term I don't think anything would happen to the egg.  Although they contain a small volume of air in the air cell, it's located at the more spherical end where the shell would stand a pretty good chance of withstanding the pressure drop, provided that there were no flaws in it, because spherical containers are ideal for withstanding either internal or external pressure.  Because the rest of the shell is filled with 'fluid' there should be no pressure drop within the shell and therefore no expansion of the air cell inside the egg.

I just don't know whether albumen and yolk expands, like water, when frozen, so I don't know whether freezing would result in expansion, which would break the shell.  I don't have any eggs atm either to test this by putting one in the freezer (or my neighbour's; where's neilp when you need him?).

I think radiation 'cooking' might be a factor, over the longer term, as flr pointed out.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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The whole point (if you forgive the pun) about eggs is that they are easy to open from the inside.

They are very strong but don't forget that freezing water bursts metal pipes with no difficulty. Eggs are mainly water so the only thing that would stop this happening to an egg would be if the airspace were big enough to take up all the expansion.
 

Offline GlentoranMark

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EGGSACTLY!

Now what would happen to the egg if it didn't have a shell (I'm also assuming its not boiled), would it fly apart, freeze solid or hold its eggy shape?

My brains scrambled on this thread, I'm in a pickle and my braincells are fried!
 

Offline LeeE

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I think we need to prove that an egg will expand when frozen, for although eggs are mostly water, they aren't actually water but a compound of it: could someone please put an egg (inside a food bag so it doesn't make a mess) inside their freezer to prove the point? 

This isn't because I disbelieve that the albumen and yolk expand when frozen but rather because I just think that it's not a safe assumption to make, just on the basis that they're mostly water.

Anyway, if the albumen and yolk do expand when frozen, I don't think the air cell would help, for if the egg expands into the air cell volume it'll compress the air, which could then burst the shell by over pressuring it.

Eggshells aren't actually easy to open from the inside: the chicks need to put quite a bit of time and effort into it, but more to the point, they need to first fracture the shell (using their 'egg-tooth') to get out and don't simply burst it by pressure.  Like I said, pressure vessels are either spherical for very high pressures, or are cylindrical with rounded ends for lower pressures, to withstand rupture due to pressure.  However, should a small flaw be made in the vessel then its integrity and strength will be lost, which is how the chicks get out of them i.e. after making an initial hole with their aforementioned egg-tooth.
 

Offline lightarrow

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My guess is that you would start to get a frozen egg- the expansion would then crack the shell and you would get a freeze-dried scrambled egg.
The freezing requires some time. In the meanwhile the air/vapour pressure could have broken the shell; what do you think?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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The vapour pressure of the water in the egg will be small (less than 1 bar).
The pressure generated by freezing water is big (about 2000 bar).
I can put better estimates on those numbers if you want but there's about 3 orders of magnitude or more between them.
I think an eggshell can cope with the less than an atmosphere of pressure that comes from the vapour pressure but I don't see it coping with the pressure that can burst metal pipes in winter.
The issue with the air space is simple.
Water expands by about 10% on freezing. For the sake of having a number let's say that egg expands about half that much i.e. 5%.
If the airspace were a tenth of the volume of the egg to begin with then the expansion would fill half of it. The remaining air would have to take up half the volume it used to so the pressure rises to 2 bar. However, while that happens the vapour pressure of water drops and the solubility of air in the egg increases so the rise in pressure would be less than 1 bar. I think the eggshell might well stand that.
If the airspace were less than 5% then there wouldn't be enough room for the egg, never mind the air and so the shell would break.
The difference is due to the difference in compressibility between gases and liquids.

Since the egg white is near 90% water (and, when it's frozen, the ice formed will be nearly pure water) I think that the egg white will expand nearly as much as pure water does, but I agree that someone should do the experiment.
On the other hand, a quick search of the web suggests people have done this experiment (for food preservation, rather than science) with messy results.
 

Offline lightarrow

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I don't bring into question the fact the expansion as consequence of freezing creates a much more pressure, it's certain! What I put in discussion is the fact the egg had  enough time to freeze, before vapour and air inside craks the shell.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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One vitally important parameter has been missed out.
Was the egg freshly laid or was it in the fridge?
An egg in the fridge would have a vapour pressure of less than 20 mmHg- I don't see that breaking the shell.
It would be roughly 4 times that for a warm egg but I still think the shell would hold it.
Of course, it's likely that the egg would only partly freeze before the shell broke so part of the content would be liquid. That's why I suggested a scrambled freeze-dried egg as the outcome.

While I was able to find some pages on the net that referred to freezing eggs, I didn't spot any that were about putting eggs in vacuum chambers.
 

Offline Tintin_Triton

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OK. Perhaps the shell would withstand. But I think in would be scrambled all-together. We must keep it mind the high amounts of radiation that space has. UV rays, I think, have enough power to roast most of the egg shell. It is made of CaCO3, so perhaps we can have some sort of decomposition reaction, and the shell would break, after a little exposure.

Obviously, the temperature at which the reaction occurs would already have boiled the egg from outside. But, the continuous loss in pressure, would scramble the egg.So, perhaps it won't be a handy Easter decoration.

However, if a Coca Cola™ can is put in the egg's place, what will happen then? :o 
 

Offline Namel

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However, if a Coca Cola™ can is put in the egg's place, what will happen then? :o 

I have "tested" freezing a Coca Cola™ can. It bursts and makes huge mess. :)
 

Offline Raghavendra

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 The egg remains same... Until it is disturbed
 

Offline yor_on

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As everything is relative.

Have anyone considered what ill-fated consequences this experiment could have on our universe. This and the LHC may very well be the beginning to an end!!!
 

Offline LeeE

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...On the other hand, a quick search of the web suggests people have done this experiment (for food preservation, rather than science) with messy results.

Good enough for me - I can't see why anyone would want to mislead people into thinking that it would make a mess when it actually doesn't.
 

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