|MadSci Network: Other|
That's an interesting question. There is a simple reason for this "apparent" contrast. The delicate artifacts at the Titanic resting site, such as the fine bone china and crystal, survive the crushing forces due to some fundamental differences between them and the human undersea explorers. A human is a complex machine composed of solids, liquids, and, most importantly, gases. When exposed to the environment without a pressurized environment to protect, the human body would suffer an instantly fatal implosion event. The china, on the other hand, in and around the wreckage sits apparently unaffected since it is solid. The forces from the environment surrounding it are pushing on all its sides and cancelling out. Since it is an "incompressible solid", nothing happens to it. The human body is very compressible though, so a compressing environment will do its worst and make short work of our explorers. If a sealed china vase, let's say, was able to survive the violent jarring motions of the ship all the way to the bottom, the pressure would surely implode it and rupture it, because of the compressible gases within. Therefore, the forces on the exterior would've been far greater than inside and the vase would break. An open vase, though, fills with the surrounding water and is very incompressible to the outside forces. The forces also equalize and it helps that china is incompressible like some other pure solids. Its easy to assume it would crush because we think of china as delicate in the sense of other types of forces such as the jarring or impacting kinds. A human has a body with lots of dissolved gases within it, such as oxygen and nitrogen, which can be compressed and expanded. These gases and such make the human body compressible under the conditions present in the environment. This is also the reason why deep sea divers need to undergo compression and de- compression before and after dives. Thanks for the question...I hope my answer helped... Tye Morancy
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Other.