Sunlight on plants.???

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by cluelusshusbund, Oct 28, 2010.

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Can sunlight on plants add mass to earf.???

  1. Yes.!!!

    2 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. No.!!!

    6 vote(s)
    75.0%
  3. Dont know.!!!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    When the sun shines on plants... does that cause any type of reaction which increases the mass of earf.???
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Who is this "earf" fellow? You get the annual "Most In Need Of A Spell Checker" award. A lot of your stuff is painful to try to read.

    Surely you understand photosynthesis, so you know that solar-spectrum light catalyzes a chemical reaction in the plant. This reaction ionizes the carbon dioxide molecules taken in from the air, and the water molecules that are carried up through capillaries from the ground. The ions are then recombined. Molecules of pure oxygen are emitted back into the atmosphere, making animal life possible. The hydrogen and carbon atoms combine with other elements extracted from the soil, notably nitrogen, to build new cells that increase the size of the plant.

    Exactly the same number of atoms come out of the reaction as went in, so there is no net change of mass in the ecosystem. In fact, by definition, the number of each kind of atom coming out of any chemical reaction is identical to the number that went in.

    You need a nuclear reaction to change those numbers. In a nuclear reaction some of the mass is converted to energy, so you have less matter than you started with. Also, some of the atoms are converted from one element into another, so you don't have all the same kinds of matter that you started with.

    Nuclear reactions don't occur in the temperatures and pressures that exist on planetary surfaces, only in the sun, so there is never any change in the earth's mass.

    Well okay, we've created a few nuclear reactions in the bombs we set off, so we've decreased the earth's mass by a few pounds. We probably gain that much from meteors, so it all balances out.

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  5. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Plants on Pandora increase the mass of their earf via sunlight

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    :roflmao:
     
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  7. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Well... vaguely... it was prolly covered on a 7th grade level in my science class but that was about 46 years ago so i coudnt have com near to esplanin it like you jus did.!!!

    But a couple of mounthes ago i saw 2 guys arguein about the mass issue at a diferent groop... an wit-out knowin why esactly i didnt thank earfs mass woud be increased by sunlight on plants so i finaly ask the queston here.!!!

    I didnt see that movie.!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  8. Pinwheel Banned Banned

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    The mass of the Earth is increasing slowly due to spacedust.
     
  9. kurros Registered Senior Member

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    Well since the chemical binding energy of the sugars produced during photosynthesis is higher than that of the reactants then technically there has been an increase in mass. It is on the order of a few electron volts worth though I think, so it is utterly negligible. For comparison, the changes in nuclear binding energies fraggle mentioned are around a million times larger (MeV scale).

    Oh, and here is another comparison

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    . The other day I happened to calculate the amount of mass of solar wind particles reaching the earth per hour, which is a heck of a lot more than the mass we would be picking up by absorbing solar photons. Although my estimate includes solar photons really because I just took the rate of mass loss of the sun and spread it over a sphere one earth-orbital distance (1 AU) in radius.

    The number was of the order of 10 mg/hour/km^2. I.e. in every square kilometre there are something like 10 mg worth of solar mass reaching us per hour, on average. Most of these are charged particles too so we get shielded from them by the Earth's magnetic field. I didn't really check my calculations so I could be a bit off but meh, this gives you a rough idea. The point is any mass increase due to absorbing photons via photosynthesis is much much less than this

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    .

    (from a solar mass loss rate of 6.7 billion tonnes per hour)

    Oh, and of course we absorb more mass worth of photons just by the photons heating stuff up (and we lose about the same amount by re-radiating photons into space, and probably lose a lot more by bits of atmosphere escaping into space, and we have definitely lost huge amounts more due to the objects we fling into deep space on occasion)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  10. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    What about the petrified forest?
     
  11. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    The correct answer is no, because all of the other chemicals used in making the sugar are already on the earth, the only thing the sunlight actually does is provide energy to arrange the atoms that are already there in a way that isn't favoured in nature.
     
  12. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    But also decreases just as quickly as we leave space junk and dead astronauts for someone else to pick up.
     
  13. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

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    sorry, i was going to vote know, but i voted yes

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    my real vote is "no" because i voted without reading your post, or even thinking about the question

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  14. kurros Registered Senior Member

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    Yes but energy=mass*c^2, i.e. it gravitates and all that, so adding energy means adding mass. However since the added mass is (~photon energy)/c^2 it is insanely tiny.
     
  15. SrasRodriguez Registered Senior Member

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    I actually googled earf

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    = fail
     
  16. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, that was just a typo... I'm sure he meant Earp...Wyatt Earp..

    Not sure how the mass relates, but, that's all I can come up with...

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    ..lol
     
  17. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    Nothing ventured, nothing gained,
    it just changes from one state to another.:itold:
     
  18. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    But life does not add energy to the earth, merely buffers it, all the energy we use from sun light will eventually radiate back out as heat, carried away in IR photons.
     
  19. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Even tho the energy is eventually carried away in IR photons... does the light from the sun cause the mass of earf to increase (if only temporarialy).???
     
  20. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    Still waiting for Fraggle to disprove petrified forests as proof that sunlight brings mass to the Earth.
     
  21. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    "The law of Conservation of mass, also known as principle of mass/matter conservation is that the mass of a closed system (in the sense of a completely isolated system) will remain constant over time. The mass of an isolated system cannot be changed as a result of processes acting inside the system. A similar statement is that mass cannot be created/destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space, and changed into different types of particles. This implies that for any chemical process in a closed system, the mass of the reactants must equal the mass of the products."
    From Wikipedia

    What do you think, the earth win or lose energy?
    Along history, the earth warms or cools ?
     
  22. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

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    here's what i think, it loose power, and generate new power, it loose power, and take new power, the hall univerce is attached to each other, all kinds of energy and exchanged between them all, in a precise order.
    earth warms or cools, both, it's like, seasons, that each season takes thousands of years, history of earth can tell that, it can warms, thre's global warming, but after 50 years or, 100 years, you don't know what would happen, you may predict, but, that doesnt mean your prediction is very true.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Petrified wood is not wood. Over the course of tens of millions of years, the organic matter in the cells of the wood is slowly washed out by the water in the local environment, and the water washes in calcium and other minerals which take their place. Even though wood is really hard for an organic substance, it doesn't compare in hardness to minerals. The force of water is inexorable over the eons, look at what it did to the Grand Canyon.

    There is no loss of mass. The mass of the tree's original cells is washed out into the environment, and the cell structure slowly fills up with the mass of the minerals.

    BTW, the petrified forest was a one-time deal. At that time there were no organisms with the ability to decompose lignin, the organic material that makes wood so hard. So dead trees just lay there on the ground forever, until they were decomposed much more slowly by physical forces rather than biological.

    With all those potential nutrients lying around going to waste, it was inevitable that an organism would eventually evolve the ability to feed on lignin. It was the lowly mushroom. Walk through a forest today and you'll notice that all the dead trees are covered with mushrooms, that have the enzyme to soften up lignin so they can use it for nutrition.

    This means not only no more petrified wood, ever, but also no more coal, petroleum or natural gas, ever. All of those substances are the physically converted--but not biologically converted--matter in dead trees that remained undigested for millions of years. Instead of them, we've got trillions of big, fat, happy mushrooms.

    Enjoy!
     

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