Superman’s Hair Gel

Featured Video Play Icon

I love a good tongue-in-cheek physical analysis of superheroes. This estimate of the drag force experienced by Superman’s hair when outracing a plane or speeding bullet was done by Cornell students. According to their calculations, Superman’s hair (or his hair gel) must withstand nearly 80,000 Newtons of force. That’s a bit less than the typical force experienced by a restrained passenger in a car crash at highway speeds.

In grad school, my labmates and I held a spirited debate about the difference in drag Superman would experience when flying at hypersonic speeds depending on whether he had one or both arms extended in front of him. Sadly, we never found the chance to test our hypotheses in the wind tunnel. (Image and video credit: R. Geltman et al.)

Superman races to the rescue.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: