Breaking Prince Rupert’s drop in space


What would happened if we broke rupert’s drop in space? Will it just cut the tail off or maby glass powder will travel through space at the speed of 1700 m/s for eternity?

In: Physics

It would shatter violently the same way as it does on Earth. Gravity is not a factor in what makes the drop shatter so violently like that. So yeah, basically, you’d have pieces flying in every direction for eternity… or until they get pulled into the gravity of a planetoid or star….

It would still explode, and yes, the glass powder would fly off in all directions at whatever high speed the explosion gives it. If you did it in low earth orbit, for example, the dust would enter various orbits closely related to the one you’re in, some of which are higher (for glass on the side of you facing forward in your orbit) and some of which are lower (for glass on the side facing backward in your orbit), and all of which intersect at the point where you broke the drop. All of these orbits would decay over time due to drag on the (very thin) wisps of atmosphere even at that altitude, but the lower orbits might conceivably dip low enough not to make it around even once.

The answer is yes. It will travel that fast forever until it reaches and is influenced by gravity somewhere. Alternatively, it can increase its speed or decrease based on how much solar radiation hits it and what direction its traveling in. This change is minuscule however.

Are you saying that the drops fly apart at 1 700 m/s? My reading of their properties says that cracks in the glass propagate that fast but I don’t think the glass fragments ever move at that speed. Do you have a source on this?