Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio

So, I've been saying I'd write a blog about the physics involved in comic book jumping.  After many calculations, and double checking, I've decided to omit the equations unless someone REALLY wants to see them.    If you feel my numbers are wrong here, then by all means, have them checked.  I've asked a friend to verify my calculations (and he MUCH better at physics that I am.)
 
So, I once posed the following question to students in a freshmen physics class. 
 Can the Incredible Hulk jump ten miles without causing a sonic boom? 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Although that was a while back, I suspect some of them are still trying to figure that out...  But I'm going to give you the answer.   And the answer is... Not only no, but SMURF NO!
 
To jump a distance of 10 miles, the Hulk would need to jump:
  • at an angle of 45 degrees
  • with an initial velocity of 890 mph
  • reaching a maximum height of 4.38 miles
  • with a total flight time of about 57 seconds
 So, the Hulk has to break the sound barrier in order to leap a distance of ten miles.  Now, he will slow down as he approaches the masimum height, but he is going to speed back up as he plummets to earth, and he WILL impact with the same speed at which he launched.  So, he will ALSO break the sound barrier as he comes in for a landing.  Thus, to leap a distance of ten miles, the Incredible Hulk must create TWO SONIC BOOMS...
 
If the Hulk launches at any angle OTHER than 45 degrees, he will have to leap even faster to make ten miles.
 
Now, a jumper is basically a projectile.  A projectile, by definition, is any object in motion acted  upon by ONLY one force.  In this case, that force is gravity.
A simpler definition would be, any object that has been launched/hurled/projected into the air...  
 
An arrow from a bow.  A bullet from a gun.  A ball from a cannon.  These are all projectiles,  something launches them, but once they are in motion, only gravity is acting on them.  Well, anything that jumps is basically a projectile.  The springing is what gives the jumper their initial velocity, but once their feet leave the ground, gravity is the ONLY force acting on them.  (We are ignoring air resistance.)
 
So, when the Hulk or Spider-man or Squirrel girl leap, they are projectiles.  The higher or further something leaps, the faster their initial velocity (speed) must be. 
Now, according to Marvel's wiki-page on the Hulk, he usually jumps about 3 miles, but has been known to jump 1000 miles with a single jump... Um... yeah...
 
A 3 mile jump requires the Hulk to jump:   
  • at an angle of 45 degrees
  • with an initial velocity of 490 mph
  • reaching a maximum height of 1.3 miles
  • with a total flight time of about 31 seconds
 A 1000 mile jump requires the Hulk to jump:   
  • at an angle of 45 degrees
  • with an initial velocity of 8900 mph
  • reaching a maximum height of 439 miles
  • with a total flight time of 9.6 minutes
 8900 mph is MACH 12.7.   He has to launch at about 13 times the speed of sound?!?!    That's roughly half the speed of the space shuttle when it launches...  But, it's the comic book universe so.....
 
Anyway, now you know....
#1 Posted by lykopis (10752 posts) - - Show Bio

My brain just exploded.

O_O

#2 Posted by Pyrogram (36376 posts) - - Show Bio

@Timandm: Just..Woah. Very nice work man! Comic logic is a hell of a drug :P

Online
#3 Posted by RazzaTazz (9589 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool, I wrote up something less physics like this once as well in a blog about this. At one point the Hulk was shown as being strong enough to change direction mid air by pushing off of air molecules.

Moderator
#4 Posted by lorbo (1541 posts) - - Show Bio

Pretty intense math there man! To make it easy I just gave my superhero frog powers. Since frogs can jump 20 times their body length (many but not all varieties can) I just added her height. 5'9 inches. So that means she can jump 115 from a standing position. Jumping forward. Not as impressive as hulk but still effective. The speed I calculated would be over 60 mph, but I'm not exactly sure how much.

You sure could figure it out though LOL.

I really think we don't need to overpower our heroes, just use nature as a template. They have the coolest superpowers anyway.

You want super durability? Check out the Ironclad beetle. Try stomping it, it won't die. In fact the only way your getting past their tough shell is with a drill no less.

#5 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio
@lykopis said:

My brain just exploded.

O_O

I know the feeling... It grows back... kind of...maybe...I can't really tell...
@Pyrogram said:

@Timandm: Just..Woah. Very nice work man! Comic logic is a hell of a drug :P

A drug?  Well THAT explains my addiction!
@RazzaTazz said:

Cool, I wrote up something less physics like this once as well in a blog about this. At one point the Hulk was shown as being strong enough to change direction mid air by pushing off of air molecules.

Off the air?  Really?  DANG...  I don't even want to think about the math to figure that out... OH!!! I bet the people in the aerodynamics department would love it!!!
@lorbo said:

@Timandm

Pretty intense math there man! To make it easy I just gave my superhero frog powers. Since frogs can jump 20 times their body length (many but not all varieties can) I just added her height. 5'9 inches. So that means she can jump 115 from a standing position. Jumping forward. Not as impressive as hulk but still effective. The speed I calculated would be over 60 mph, but I'm not exactly sure how much.

You sure could figure it out though LOL.

I really think we don't need to overpower our heroes, just use nature as a template. They have the coolest superpowers anyway.

You want super durability? Check out the Ironclad beetle. Try stomping it, it won't die. In fact the only way your getting past their tough shell is with a drill no less.

That's pretty close.
If they jump at an angle of 60 degrees, they would have to leap with an initial velocity of 45 mph and go about 117 feet  in 3.6 seconds...  It's kind of kewl to know how long it takes them to leap that far.  So, their average horizontal speed (as if they had run the 115 feet) would be about 22.2 mph
If they jump at an angle of 45 degrees, they would have to leap with an initial velocity of 41.5 mph and go about 115 feet in 2.7 seconds.  Their speed in that case would be about 29 mph.  Interesting how the lower angle allows you to leap with less initial velocity and YET have a faster horizontal velocity.  Kewl isn't it?
#6 Posted by lorbo (1541 posts) - - Show Bio

@Timandm said:

@lykopis said:

My brain just exploded.

O_O

I know the feeling... It grows back... kind of...maybe...I can't really tell...
@Pyrogram said:

@Timandm: Just..Woah. Very nice work man! Comic logic is a hell of a drug :P

A drug? Well THAT explains my addiction!
@RazzaTazz said:

Cool, I wrote up something less physics like this once as well in a blog about this. At one point the Hulk was shown as being strong enough to change direction mid air by pushing off of air molecules.

Off the air? Really? DANG... I don't even want to think about the math to figure that out... OH!!! I bet the people in the aerodynamics department would love it!!!
@lorbo said:

@Timandm

Pretty intense math there man! To make it easy I just gave my superhero frog powers. Since frogs can jump 20 times their body length (many but not all varieties can) I just added her height. 5'9 inches. So that means she can jump 115 from a standing position. Jumping forward. Not as impressive as hulk but still effective. The speed I calculated would be over 60 mph, but I'm not exactly sure how much.

You sure could figure it out though LOL.

I really think we don't need to overpower our heroes, just use nature as a template. They have the coolest superpowers anyway.

You want super durability? Check out the Ironclad beetle. Try stomping it, it won't die. In fact the only way your getting past their tough shell is with a drill no less.

That's pretty close. If they jump at an angle of 60 degrees, they would have to leap with an initial velocity of 45 mph and go about 117 feet in 3.6 seconds... It's kind of kewl to know how long it takes them to leap that far. So, their average horizontal speed (as if they had run the 115 feet) would be about 22.2 mphIf they jump at an angle of 45 degrees, they would have to leap with an initial velocity of 41.5 mph and go about 115 feet in 2.7 seconds. Their speed in that case would be about 29 mph. Interesting how the lower angle allows you to leap with less initial velocity and YET have a faster horizontal velocity. Kewl isn't it?

Very cool...I will contact you if I ever need any superhero math in future thanks. : )