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Author Topic: Why don't we sink through the floor? What's stopping us?  (Read 4078 times)

Offline chris

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What stops me sinking into the floor; admittedly it's concrete and rock, but why don't I just gently sink through it?

Someone mentioned the Pauli Exclusion Principle in this context...


 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Why don't we sink through the floor? What's stopping us?
« Reply #1 on: 03/01/2014 13:26:13 »
You got all those forces binding particles together, and also joining them into matter. This joining of them into matter won't, quantum mechanically, allow tunnelings. A tunneling is defined to particles oscillation and wave function, for matter you come to decoherence and uncountable wave functions, all bound into you, for example. And I think it is a tunneling you would need for slowly 'sinking' through that floor.

But I like the idea, it would be neat at times, to be able to sink through the floor :)
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Why don't we sink through the floor? What's stopping us?
« Reply #2 on: 03/01/2014 13:45:53 »
Quote
why don't I just gently sink through it?

Statistics.

A bit of you almost certainly does appear on the other side of any real boundary if you wait long enough, but it's a tiny bit and there's a lot of you.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Why don't we sink through the floor? What's stopping us?
« Reply #3 on: 03/01/2014 16:36:05 »
What stops me sinking into the floor; admittedly it's concrete and rock, but why don't I just gently sink through it?

Someone mentioned the Pauli Exclusion Principle in this context...
As I understand it, it's a combination of the Pauli Exclusion Principle providing stabilisation (preventing matter collapsing in on itself), and electrostatic forces providing longer range repulsion. See 'Stability of Matter'.
 

Offline JP

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Re: Why don't we sink through the floor? What's stopping us?
« Reply #4 on: 03/01/2014 18:06:53 »
What stops me sinking into the floor; admittedly it's concrete and rock, but why don't I just gently sink through it?

Someone mentioned the Pauli Exclusion Principle in this context...
As I understand it, it's a combination of the Pauli Exclusion Principle providing stabilisation (preventing matter collapsing in on itself), and electrostatic forces providing longer range repulsion. See 'Stability of Matter'.

It's primarily due to electrostatic repulsion between electrons in your feet and electrons in the floor. The exclusion principle would only apply if you were pulled down so hard that particles in your body wanted to occupy the same precise space (technically, the same quantum state) as matter in the floor.  This would generally require that gravity is so strong that atoms collapse and form neutrons, as in a neutron star.  We'd be long dead, and floors wouldn't exist, so this probably isn't what you're asking about.  :)

The exclusion principle does apply to the quantum theory of how atoms form, but it isn't directly related to the force that keeps you from falling through the floor.
 

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Re: Why don't we sink through the floor? What's stopping us?
« Reply #4 on: 03/01/2014 18:06:53 »

 

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