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Math Help - Can you please help me with this problem? Physics.

  1. #1
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    Can you please help me with this problem? Physics.

    This is the problem:

    "Suppose 300 cubic meters of oil is spilled into the ocean. Find the area of the resulting slick, assuming that it is one molecule thick and that each molecule occupies a cube 0.50 m on a side."

    Please help!
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  2. #2
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    You have assumed that the molecues fit together perfectly. This is only a division problem.

    \frac{300 m^{3}}{0.5 \mu^{3}} = Number of Molecules

    Where are you struggling, this setup or the unit conversion?
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  3. #3
    Forum Admin topsquark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKHunny View Post
    You have assumed that the molecues fit together perfectly. This is only a division problem.

    \frac{300 m^{3}}{0.5 \mu^{3}} = Number of Molecules

    Where are you struggling, this setup or the unit conversion?
    (This is from the other thread.)
    Quote Originally Posted by help1 View Post
    You suggested that the answer is 300/.5 so that equals 600. So are you saying that the answer is that the area is 600? That doesn't make sense at all to me! How do I find the area?
    No. The area of the spill is not 600 m^2. Keep track of your units.

    The volume of the spill is
    V = \text{Area} \times \text{thickness}

    So
    \text{Area} = \frac{V}{\text{thickness}}

    We know the volume of the spill and we know that the spill is one molecule thick, so
    \text{Area} = \frac{300~m^3}{0.50~\mu m}
    as TKHunny said.

    Now get the units on top and bottom to be similar:

    \frac{300~m^3}{0.50~\mu m} \cdot \frac{1~\mu m}{1 \times 10^{-6}~m} = \frac{300~m^3}{0.5 \times 10^{-6}~m} = 600 \times 10^6~m^2 = 6 \times 10^8~m^2

    Always always always keep track of your units!

    -Dan
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