Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fastest-Spinning Man-Made Object Created

Scientists have created a microscopic sphere which rotates roughly 500,000 times faster than your average washing machine - 600 million rotations per minute. It's the fastest spinning object EVER created. (Maybe we need to work on our washing machine R&D.)  <grin>
"Michael Mazilu, a physicist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said in a statement. 'The rotation rate is so fast that the angular acceleration at the sphere surface is 1 billion times that of gravity on the Earth surface — it's amazing that the centrifugal forces [the forces pushing outward due to circular motion] do not cause the sphere to disintegrate.'
Very large objects obey classical rules of physics as laid out prior to the 20th century, whereas quantum theory describes the bizarre behavior of tiny subatomic particles. But at the boundary between the very small and the merely tiny, scientists aren't quite sure what happens."
They manufactured a miniature sphere, levitated it in a beam of laser light, and accelerated its spin to 600 million rotations per minute (rpm) until it broke apart. The rotating sphere acted like a tiny gyroscope which stabilized its motion, and it cooled to minus 387 degrees Fahrenheit.
Read the full story here: