For those of you who read the title and thought this journal was going to be about World Cup football (or soccer for my American audience - when in Russia...) and the formation of a new team, welcome. I can't promise this will be as riveting as the upcoming Mexico vs El Salvador qualifier, but stick with me. For those of you who have been pining away for more chemistry, welcome back.
As of 7:00 am, everyone has finished their science experiments, and we are transiting back to Norway until the 19th. A few of us thought about asking the captain to head back east and just drop us off in Utqiagvik (Barrow), AK because it's only about a 3 day trip. We'd be closer to home, but no such luck.
Earlier this week, we did one of our deepest casts with the CTDA research tool that is submerged in the water to measure conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth. and rosette, sending it down to 3723 meters (12,215 feet or 2.31 miles). In addition to collecting data, we added an extra element onto the equipment. For several days prior, science party and crew members had been doing some "art therapy" and decorating styrofoam cups using sharpies. Many of them (not necessarily mine) were amazing works of art.
Then, we placed a crumpled paper towel into each of the cups to prevent them from nesting with each other, and put them into a mesh laundry bag. The bag was securely tied to the inside of the rosette, the Niskin collecting bottles were replaced, and then the entire apparatus was lowered into the ocean.
What a great demonstration of the relationship between pressure and volume (Chem students - keep this in mind for next semester's gas laws unit)! If you’ve ever dove down to the bottom of the pool, you’ve felt the increased pressure in your ears. This pressure exerts a force on objects in all three dimensions (length, width, and height) and will cause the molecules in an object to squeeze closer together and decrease the volume of the object. As pressure increases, volume decreases - it's an inverse relationship.
Styrofoam cups are made by trapping air between the polystyrene molecules, so as the cups were lowered almost 3500 meters down, the forces caused the molecules to be compacted. Lower temperatures also play a part because they cause the volume to decrease as the molecules also move closer together (a direct relationship). Consequently, the cups got smaller and smaller. What started out as a normal coffee cup would now hold little more than a sip.
Several of us were talking and wondered what the optimum depth might be? What if the cups only went down 100 m? 500m? 1000m? Does the quality of the cups matter? What about the water temperature? Would the effect be the same in an equatorial ocean?
I propose that I set up a "Global Cup Experiment" that would include students and artists from around the world, collaborating to answer these very important questions.
PolarTREC or National Science Foundation, any interest in funding me?!? I think Antarctica and the Maldives might make excellent research locations.
Anyone, anyone? Bueller, Bueller?