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carob_tree's avatar

How much does a fart weigh?

Asked by carob_tree (223points) May 22nd, 2013

I have a theory that a fart since it has mass has weight. Basic physics right. However, does the intensity of the aroma dictate the density and therefore weight? Can a fart be toxic to the point of death?

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18 Answers

Plucky's avatar

I am so following this question.

zenvelo's avatar

Farts contain methane, so yes, it has weight, but it is lighter than air. Air has a molecular weight of 29, methane has a molecular weight of 16.043.

If the methane concentration is high enough, you will suffocate. But I have never been around enough cows or fraternity brothers to reach that intensity level.

Judi's avatar

Any jelly named @gassman HAS to answer this!

gasman's avatar

A subject close to my (namesake) heart! Flatulence is gas molecules, so of course it has mass and weight. “Intensity” is some combination of concentration, pungency, and unpleasantness. “Aroma” basically amounts to chemistry.

The less smelly farts are largely composed of swallowed air, which has an effective molecular weight of 29 daltons. Some people habitually swallow large amounts of air. The “rotten eggs” smell indicates hydrogen sulfide gas, H2S, with a molecular weight of 34. Also issuing from the colon is methane gas, CH4, with a m.w. of 16.

As you can see methane is lighter than air while H2S is heavier. There are lots of other stinky substances synthesized by bacteria in your gut, such as mercaptans, indoles, skatoles, and sulfides. There are people with PhDs in organic chemistry who study such things with mass spectrometers and gas chromatographs. Almost all of these substances are larger molecules whose gas would definitely be denser than air. In that sense weight is proportional to concentration or “intensity” but I’m not sure the density / buoyancy matters much, because low concentrations and natural convection currents will keep these gases well mixed and dispersed through the space in which the fart is confined. In still air there is still the process of diffusion, whose rate (as I recall) is proportional to square root of molecular weight. Under the right conditions the stink creeps slowly.

All of these gases area toxic in high enough concentrations (people commit suicide with methane, aka natural gas) but due to dilution in room air, the concentrations are probably too low to be toxic no matter how disgusting the smell. In a closed space, such as a closet, I suppose, in the extreme, a large volume of flatulence could be dangerous. People with bad flatulence should adjust their diets, come out of the closet, and stay downwind.

ucme's avatar

Justin Bieber?

janbb's avatar

Are we talking solely human farts or are we considering deadly canine farts as well?

dxs's avatar

Does the pitch of the fart carry any effect on the density?

woodcutter's avatar

It will depend what color it is.

Pachy's avatar

The only way to really tell
Is cutting cheese atop a scale.

rebbel's avatar

The fart that you thought was a fart, but turned out to not be a fart, well, those weigh about 10 to 12 ounces.

carob_tree's avatar

Dog farts smell like….............wait for it…..........wait for it…............“kibbles and shits”

bookish1's avatar

I’ve been holding off, but I finally read this thread. I kind of hope it goes down in Fluther history.

serenade's avatar

‘round here they weigh less than an orgasm.

carob_tree's avatar

Hahaha, I just read that 2008 post and based on her calculations her fart weighed 2.2lbs! I wonder what a fart that big sounded like; a foghorn or a cello solo in the Boston philharmonic?

Plucky's avatar

@rebbel…that would be a shart. :P

gondwanalon's avatar

It is easy to determine the weight of a fart. Simply catch one in a plastic bag and then weigh it (with a balance inside of a vacuum chamber).
Catch as many farts as you want and weight each one and then you can correlate the smell intensities to the weight. I suspect that the smell of a fart has a direct relationship to its weight. Of course that is just my hypothesis.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Now these are the kinds of deep questions that I really miss seeing on fluther bwahahaha

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