Thursday, October 18, 2007

Breasts and Hooke's Law

My wife brought up Hooke's Law in a comment on Amelia's blog about her breasts.

After thinking about Amelia's boobs and Hooke's law, I realized that she made errors in her explanation of Hooke's Law. I did post a comment, the text of which I have pasted below and I can assure you that I will explain and demonstrate Hooke's law to my wife and how it applies to her breasts at my earliest convenience.

Scout's Honor [ed: my wife's pen name], while Hooke's law does apply to boobs, I think you misunderstood which forces where being discussed.

Hooke's law is applicable to springs and what force F is required to make them stretch a certain distance x. There is a material property of the spring k, called the elastic coefficient, which drives that ratio.

So, how does Hooke's law apply to breasts, in particular Amelia's? As she so astutely noticed, probably along with the other men in her town, her breasts are getting bigger. As her boobs (need to bring this comment back down to the level that it deserves) increase in size, they also increase in mass.

This increase in mass increases the force due to gravity on her breasts, which could cause some, but not all of the problems you identified in your comment. Obviously a force applied to the boob will actually pass back to where the boob meets the chest (not that great lower breast part), but that which is visible when showing off cleavage. I can not imagine that boobs will get so large as to actually cause a rupture, or explosion as Scout brought up, but if the current rate at which your breasts are increasing in size continues, they are going to be ginormous!

However, this is where the science gets fun! Amelia, we need you to collect some more information. Maybe this is better information for your husband to collect, to mitigate any anger issues that might arise from how much thought I've put into your breasts lately. We need to measure the change in the elastic coefficient of your boobs.

While there are many good scientific methods we can use, a good approximation would be to measure their firmness, which is where your husband comes in. Another method would be to actually apply weights to your nipples and measure the amount of stretch, but I don't know if you are that kind of girl or not. Which ever method you and your husband choose to measure the elastic coefficient of your boobs is up to you! Make it fun, science is fun!

So, Hooke's law dictates that the larger your boobs get, the more they could, for lack of a better term, sag. But I maintain, especially amongst preggers, that as your boobs increase in size, they will also get firmer (sweet). This increase in firmness, or the elastic coefficient, should mitigate any additional sagging. From my experiences with Scout's boobs during and shortly after pregnancy, the firmness will change during the course of the day, based upon feedings and other external influences.

Amelia, in the name of science, keep collecting and reporting the details!

If there is anyone from the NSF reading this, I would greatly appreciate some grant money so that I can study the effects of increasing breast size, both in preggers and non-preggers, on the elastic coefficient of the female breast.

[ed: I wish I had the right pictures to put on this post; a picture is worth a thousand words]

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