The Physics
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Power of a Mutant: Storm from X-Men

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Abstract

The purpose of this essay is to calculate the power of the mutant Storm from the X-Men movie (2000) releases in the creation of a tornado.

Introduction

Power is the rate at which work is done or energy is consumed. Therefore if you can find the amount of energy in a tornado you can can figure the power involved in making it if you divide the energy by the time it takes to create.

Procedure

  1. Look online for the energy inside of an average tornado.
  2. Watch X-Men the movie and find a scene where Storm creates a tornado.
  3. Record the time it takes for her to make the tornado by either using a stopwatch or watching a timer in the bottom of screen (if available)
  4. Divide the energy by the time to determine power.

Analysis

According to USA Today: Weather the average tornado releases approximately 10,000 kilowatt-hours of energy. Since one watt equals 1 joule per second we know that 1kilowatt equals 1,000 joules per second or that 1 kilowatt-hour = 1,000*60*60 = 3,600,000 joules. Therefore lets assume the tornado that Storm produces involves the release of 36 billion joules or 36 × 109 joules. Now I divide that by the time it took Storm to create a tornado, which was approximately 3 seconds. 36 billion divided by 3 is 12 billion watts.

The average person consumes 2500 food calories a day which is about 10,460,000 joules. To get the power you must divide by how many seconds there in a day, which is 86,400. 10,460 joules divided by 86,400 seconds is roughly equal to 120 watts.

Conclusion

I concluded that Storm delivers approximately 12 gigawatts of power in the creation of a tornado. Which is an incredibly large amount of power for one person to have. For comparison the power of the average person is about 120 watts making Storm about 100 million times more powerful that you or I.

Sources of Error

Some sources of error could be the fact that it is difficult to tell the actual amount of energy inside the tornado Storm makes. I found the average amount of energy in a tornado and there are many tornados which vary in strength so an exact number is hard to come by. Also it is sometimes hard to tell when exactly a tornado begins and ends so the 3 seconds I measured may be slightly off. It might have taken a bit longer or shorter to make the tornado, depending on when it started.

Matthew Michaels -- 2005

Physics on Film
  1. Commercials
    1. Speed of a car: Honda Civic Si commercial
  2. Feature Films
    1. Power of a mutant: Storm from X-Men
    2. Speed and mass of a dodge ball: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
    3. Speed of a rogue bludger: Harry Potter
    4. Speed of falling Saruman: Lord of the Rings