Could an electric shock halt a whirlpool?

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Yasser

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Could an electric shock halt a whirlpool?
« on: 14/01/2009 08:58:36 »
Yasser  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Naked Scientists,
 
When a whirlpool has formed is it possible to disrupt and even halt it's movement by "injecting" into the surface of the water, or even near the "eye" of the whirlpool large volts of electricity? Salt water makes a pretty good conductor so in theory or practice could this work.
 
Note: In a realistic practical experiment one could possibly drop a chunk of heavy metal into the whirlpool and hope that it attracts a lightning bolt, which to some degree represents the intensity of the
voltage my question is based upon.

Best Regards,
Yasser Maniram

What do you think?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Could an electric shock halt a whirlpool?
« Reply #1 on: 20/01/2009 20:39:53 »
I can't think of any reason why it should. Some of the water may get ionised or boiled, but I don't see that it would stop a whirlpool.
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Offline Make it Lady

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Could an electric shock halt a whirlpool?
« Reply #2 on: 20/01/2009 21:29:35 »
Perhaps you could add large magnets. Would that help?
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Could an electric shock halt a whirlpool?
« Reply #3 on: 20/01/2009 22:29:58 »
You wouldn't need magnets. Anything large enough to disrupt the flow would work.
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lyner

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Could an electric shock halt a whirlpool?
« Reply #4 on: 21/01/2009 10:08:58 »
Where would the angular momentum go?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Could an electric shock halt a whirlpool?
« Reply #5 on: 21/01/2009 13:57:00 »
Where would the angular momentum go?

You're the expert - you tell me. If you lower a big barrier across a whirlpool it would certainly disrupt it.
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lyner

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Could an electric shock halt a whirlpool?
« Reply #6 on: 22/01/2009 14:20:08 »
Oh yes - a physical barrier would 'connect' it to the Earth and the momentum would end up as a modified rotation of the planet.
My nonsense question was really about how a 'spark' with almost zero mass and not a lot of stiffness, could transfer / remove the momentum.
And, as water is not measurably magnetic, I don't see that magnets could help either.
« Last Edit: 22/01/2009 14:21:45 by sophiecentaur »