General Question

BronxLens's avatar

What physical changes if any will a sphere/water undergo in a long period of time?

Asked by BronxLens (1539points) July 6th, 2008

For a basketball-sized sphere of glass totally filled with water, at sea level, what changes if any will the sphere/water undergo in a long period of time, i.e. century; millennium, 10,000 yrs, under ideal conditions?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Is the sphere totally enclosed, bronxLens? I know that is implied, but I thought I would check.

shockvalue's avatar

Well, glass is very porous, so eventually all the water would evaporate out. though I’m sure a lot of distillation would occur first.

Zaku's avatar

Seems to me glass isn’t porous enough for a bottle of wine to evaporate in 100 years, so I’m not expecting a closed glass ball to show any change after 100 years’ “ideal” storage (no violence, limited temperature change). After 1000 years I might get bored enough to wonder how thick and porous that glass is and look at the rate of evaporation, if any. I’m not expecting much at all to happen to it.

Most likely is something interferes with those ideal conditions. It’s already threatened by me being most interested in watching it explode when dropped from a high place…

sebrowns's avatar

keep in mind glass is not a solid.

BronxLens's avatar

Yes, the glass is totally enclosed.
Lets make it for argument sakes a 1” thick glass. I was wondering since glass is not a solid…

Harp's avatar

Actually, according to laboratory tests (page 74) glass has infinite resistance to water vapor permeability. So no water would get out.

Assuming the water was distilled and sterile, so that it contained no minerals, dissolved gasses or micro-organisms, I’d say there’d be no detectable change ever. Radiation causes the decomposition of water into H and O2, but it also then recombines them into liquid water, so there is 0 net change.

breedmitch's avatar

How would one get the water in there in the first place? How could you seal the sphere without heating the water enough for some of it to evaporate?

Harp's avatar

The belief that “glass is not a solid” is widespread, but not indisputable. It is not crystalline, but, as this article shows, the liquid/solid/glass distinction is largely semantic.

Zaku's avatar

@Breedmitch – It would best be done using Gailcalled’s trained snails and cockroaches, naturally.

Zaku's avatar

Harp, those are some great article links!

mvgolden's avatar

Since glass is not really a solid, the glass flow from the top of the sphere to the bottom. You see this happen in really old windows. I would think the the force of gravity would turn it into some sort of oblate spheroid

I would think eventually the glass would all flow from the top of the sphere and it would open up. I would also think that as the sphere deforms over time it could take a shape that has a greater volume than the volume of water inside. If that were to happen then some of the liquid water inside would turn into water vapor.

Harp's avatar

Here’s an exerpt from the article I linked above:

“Robert Brill of the Corning glass museum has been studying antique glass for over 30 years. He has examined many examples of glass from old buildings, measuring their material properties and chemical composition. He has taken a special interest in the glass flow myth and has always looked for evidence for and against. In his opinion, the notion that glass in Mediaeval stained glass windows has flowed over the centuries is untrue and, he says, examples of sagging and ripples in old windows are also most likely physical characteristics resulting from the manufacturing process. Other experts who have made similar studies agree. Theoretical analysis based on measured glass viscosities shows that glass should not deform significantly even over many centuries, and a clear link is found between types of deformation in the glass and the way it was produced.”

8lightminutesaway's avatar

yeah but its cooler to think of glass as a fluid!

I’m trying to think if there might be any trace substances in the air that might react with glass over thousands of years… also keep in mind that after bajillions (its a metric unit ;) ) of years, the probabilities of quantum physics come into play.

Harp's avatar

Quartz is chemically almost identical to glass, but quartz crystals look pretty impeccable after bajillions of years of exposure to air.

T0m45's avatar

I agree with Mygolden, I’ve seen a church window flow down until there was a hole at the top, I’m guessing a sphere would do the same thing- unless you rolled it every few years- what then?

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther