# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: How long is a piece of string?  (Read 2973 times)

#### Don_1

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##### How long is a piece of string?
« on: 09/07/2012 09:35:15 »
As long as you want it to be, there's no limit.

So, can we send a huge reel of string up to the international space station and just haul up everything needed?

#### syhprum

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #1 on: 09/07/2012 14:26:25 »
There are two problems (at least) the bottom end of the string would be moving at orbital speed unless we moved the ISS up to a geostationary orbit secondly after a few Km,s of string had been payed out it would break under its own weight.

#### acecharly

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #2 on: 09/07/2012 15:01:11 »
how about instead of string, some kind of rubber/plastic tube that is sealed at the top with small holes in the side that point slightly down so as it rises the air thrusts out of these holes supporting its weight and blowing the tube upwards.

#### Geezer

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #3 on: 09/07/2012 18:30:15 »
Another problem is that you'd only get to do it once.

Once you'd hauled the stuff up by the string, you could not lower the string back down. It would just hang around in space like a huge rats nest.

#### Bored chemist

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #4 on: 09/07/2012 19:23:01 »
Just in case anyone ever comes here looking for an answer to the question that forms the title:
How long is a piece of string?
Twice as long as from the middle to one end.

#### CZARCAR

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #5 on: 09/07/2012 19:36:29 »
not as short as a point

#### Don_1

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #6 on: 10/07/2012 14:35:02 »
There are two problems (at least) the bottom end of the string would be moving at orbital speed unless we moved the ISS up to a geostationary orbit ......

How remiss of me. Right so how about we construct a geostationary platform.

There are mono fibre fishing lines with a 40lbs breaking strain and just 0.41mm in diameter and alloy lines with a breaking strain of 200lbs, so surly we must be able to construct a non absorbant line with a much greater breaking strain, but as light (pro rata) as fishing line. As the line gets nearer the edge of space, the gravitational effect will lessen.

Another problem is that you'd only get to do it once.

Once you'd hauled the stuff up by the string, you could not lower the string back down. It would just hang around in space like a huge rats nest.

Not if you made a continuous loop.

Just in case anyone ever comes here looking for an answer to the question that forms the title:
How long is a piece of string?
Twice as long as from the middle to one end.

I can't argue with that.

#### Geezer

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #7 on: 10/07/2012 17:50:50 »

Another problem is that you'd only get to do it once.

Once you'd hauled the stuff up by the string, you could not lower the string back down. It would just hang around in space like a huge rats nest.

Not if you made a continuous loop.

But then you'd be hauling up and down at the same time, and you'd need to find a Boy Scout to knot the two ends together.

#### Don_1

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #8 on: 12/07/2012 09:47:14 »
......... and you'd need to find a Boy Scout to knot the two ends together.

I bet Stephenson didn't have these problems when he built his rocket. Anyone know if it made it to the Moon, by the way?

Now that Wimbledon is over, there should be a glut of scouts looking for summat to do.

BTW, you can't have 'boy' scouts any more, just scouts. Its sexist, you know. Girls can join too.
I wanted to join the Girls Guides, but back in the days of my teens, that wasn't allowed. Perhaps now, with sexism and ageism outlawed, they might let me join. So long as pervism has been outlawed, I should be OK.

#### Don_1

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##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #9 on: 12/07/2012 10:03:59 »
Notwithstanding the problems pointed out here, I have decided to run a trial using the Shard to fix my platform to. I have raided the sewing box and found a couple of cotton reels to use as my pulleys and pinched borrowed my neighbour's washing line. I'm sure he'll appreciate my laying out his whites on the new mown lawn to dry.

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: How long is a piece of string?
« Reply #9 on: 12/07/2012 10:03:59 »