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Q & A: spinning faster than c?

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
if you can’t go faster then the speed of light explain this to me... what if you spun a disk and the inside was going the speed of light that would mean that the outside would be going faster (this doesent necessarily have to be a disk, if you spun a string or something else)
- James Gates
Stratford, Connecticut
A:
The rule that you can't have something go faster than light past something else is, so far as we can understand it, absolute. You simply cannot spin a wheel etc so that any part goes at c. Here's one way to 'explain' that. The inertial mass of the parts going near to c gets larger without limit. The force required to keep them attached then gets arbitrarily large. At some point the wheel or string breaks. There is no engineering solution because nothing is infinitely strong.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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