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IRL - Quicksilver, The Flash, and the laws of aerodynamics...

If you are fans of superhero movies -or Comics- or have you ever asked about the realism of their powers? Do you ever wondered what would happen in reality if Superman, The Flash, Iron Man or Spider-Man even existed?

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Temps de lecture : 7 min

If you are fans of superhero movies -or Comics- or have you ever asked about the realism of their powers? Do you ever wondered what would happen in reality if Superman, The Flash, Iron Man or Spider-Man even existed?

A few weeks ago, watching a video of LinksTheSun ( a French Youtuber) about clichés in superheroes films, one of the aspects he noticed intrigued me. In one of the points of his "top 20", he evokes the realism problem of superhero films, and forgetfulness (too recurrent) of laws of physics. Also, he quickly explained that if heroes like The Flash or Quicksilver really existed, their only passage would be able to lift people or even cars, and cause a lot of damage, because of their unusual speed . Therefore, combining my passion for superheroes to my scientific curiosity, I decided to ... calculate how these heroes could do damage with their superhuman speed!

Ezra Miller dans le rôle de Barry Allen/The Flash

It is obviously not here to make a scientific way, but simply to combine two "passions" that are dear to me and imagine what it would be if all of this was real. The facts and scientific calculations are necessarily simplified, but the idea is to get as close as possible to reality, and thus to have an idea of ??what the existence of such a superhero cause.

Therefore, by looking on Wikipedia and other scientific sites, I learned that in aerodynamics, the ability of a moving object to move air in its path (which is directly related to the force opposes its movement) is called the trail (really, the first nickname of the Flash fitted like a glove!). To be more clear, dear Wiki tells us: ". In fluid mechanics, the drag is the force that opposes the motion of a body in a fluid, either by car, the force that opposes the advancing the vehicle in the air " and this obviously implies the force moved around the body moving.

The basic formula to calculate the trail of an object (such as a man or a car, because in aviation the formula is slightly different) is:

Formule de la force de la traînée

So I decided to calculate the drag produced by The Flash and Quicksilver (in roughly taking the frontal Grant Gustin and Evan Peters, the best-known players of these two characters).

According to the comics and movies / series, they move at the speed of light (ie 299,792,458 m / s). But as I still leave some room to physics (which says that nothing and no one can match this speed), we will say that they move "almost" at the speed of light, so, ie, 299 000 000 m / s (this is quite enough for a human...).

The density of air is generally 1.293.

As I have unfortunately not been able to visit these two actors to measure them, I relied on what Internet said on their bodies.

Frontal Grant Gustin: 1,9m x 0.85 x 0.60 = 0.969

Frontal Evan Peters: 1,8m x 0.85 x 0.60 = 0.918

Cx is basically equal to 1.2 (that is, in any case, the one estimated for Usain Bolt!)

Therefore, for The Flash Fx = 299 000 000 x 1.293 x 0.969 x 1.2 = 449 546 620.

Quicksilver, Fx = 299000000 x 1.293 x 0.918 x 1.2 = 425,886,271.

Quicksilver, dans les films X-Men

Also, as these figures should not mean much to you (for me either, I assure you), let’s compare. An ordinary light aircraft (take the A380, for example) has a trail of about 1 million, at cruising speed. One can easily double the figure in respect of a fighter plane (you know, those who exceed the speed of sound?). One can hardly imagine to stand next to a plane taking off, and to be honest, a car or even a truck are easily swept in its path (either from an airplane sightseeing or hunting, for that matter).

Therefore, it obviously seems as if The Flash or Quicksilver really existed, they could not afford to move across town or in buildings. Their trail would be too strong and sweep away everything in their path (not just a few sheets of paper, contrary to what we see in The Flash series!). "In Real Life" Barry Allen would do enormous damage by moving through the streets of Central City, and Quicksilver simply won’t be able to move his fellow X-Men without destroying half of the castle of Xavier.

Fan-art de The Flash

 Hoooooowever, I'm not here to depress you or tell you that superheroes are meaningless. For me, comics and films (or series) are on a source of pleasure and relaxation, and I do not blame them at all their little "gaps" realism. This article was only to try, in a humorous way, to imagine what damage a man who can run at this speed would cause if he really existed!

So I leave you on that small Quicksilver video, and I hope to find you again in a new IRL !

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