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Lv 6
San asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 1 month ago

Bottle in space?

If we fill a plastic bottle with air at the standard atmospheric pressure and throw it into the vacuum of space from a space shuttle, is it likely that the plastic bottle bursts and the air comes out?


5 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    probably not... 1 atm of pressure is much less than the bottle is designed to withstand. but temperature is a factor ... 

    One thing the other answers left out is that the temperature of an object in space (near earth space) is determined by if it is in sunlight or not. In sunlight it would be at a high temperature, and in shade at a very low temperature.

    In the shade, it would get cold enough so that the plastic gets brittle. Depending on the plastic, it may well crack, although the pressure goes down.

    In the sun, temperature will be as high as 250ºF, so pressure would increase. Possibly enough to cause it to burst, but probably not.

    (above is short term).

    in orbit, it would see periods of high temperature alternated with period of low temperature. The plastic would not withstand many of those before crumbling.

    google: This solar radiation heats the space near Earth to 393.15 kelvins (120 degrees Celsius or 248 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher, while shaded objects plummet to temperatures lower than 173.5 kelvins (minus 100 degrees Celsius or minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit).

  • Dixon
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Not right away anyway. Plastic bottles can easily withstand a one atmosphere pressure difference. In full sunlight in space the plastic might get soft and give way eventually or in shadow it might radiate heat away and get brittle at very cold temperatures. But initially nothing much will happen.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    A plastic bottle won't survive 

    - the temperature of the vacuum at approximately 3 degrees Kelvin

    - the phase changes the air goes through from gas to liquid to eventually a solid if the bottle survives long enough (doubtful)

    - the radiation the plastic is exposed to

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    It depends on the plastic bottle. A two-liter pop bottle on average won't burst until it reaches 168 psi. The atmosphere at sea level is only about 15 psi, so the bottle shouldn't come anywhere close to bursting, though it possibly could because space is so extremely cold and extreme cold makes plastic very brittle, so sithout knowing how cold that bottle would get and without knowing the strength of the plastic at that temperature, it's impossible to say. Another factor is the temperature of the air when it was gathered in the bottle, for example if it was air gathered at sea level in the arctic in middle of winter, it will retain far more pressure in space than if it was air gathered at sea level at noon in Death Valley in middle of summer because as the air cools in space, its pressure will decrease, so if it's very cold air, the less the pressure will decrease, but if it's very warm air, the more the pressure will decrease, and decreasing pressure means less likelihood of the bottle bursting. 

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Likely? It's a certainty.

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