How Many Peanut Butter Sandwiches Does It Take to Fuel a Hulk?


Superheroes do superhero issues: They bounce, punch stuff, run quick, and typically shoot beams out of their eyes. These actions require power, identical to regular human actions. While you stand up within the morning, that takes power. Strolling round takes power. Working a mile requires much more power—however not almost as a lot as it could take to fly a human-powered helicopter for one minute. (Yes, that’s real.) All of that power comes from meals. If superheroes additionally get their power from meals, simply how a lot would they should eat to tug off their high-energy strikes?

In honor of the brand new Disney+ collection that began August 17, I’ll give attention to strikes by the Hulk and She-Hulk. I believe we are able to assume that the 2 of them get their power from meals. A recent clip from the series exhibits the Hulk (Bruce Banner) telling She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) that they will drink as a lot alcohol as they need, since hulks have such a excessive metabolism. That suggests their power comes from consuming and never some unusual mechanism or supply, like an additional dimension.

Meals Power

We measure the power in meals by way of energy. For instance, the wrapper on a single sweet bar might say a serving has 200 energy. (Listed here are some examples with exact values.)

However there’s a distinction between the best way nutritionists discuss energy and the best way physicists do. To physicists, a calorie is the quantity of power that you’d want to lift the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 diploma Celsius. However that is not the identical as a meals calorie. Meals labels really checklist issues by way of kilocalories, which suggests the 200-calorie sweet bar is admittedly 200 occasions 1,000 energy, or 200,000 energy.

That’s complicated. And to be trustworthy, we physicists do not actually like to make use of both of those items for power. As an alternative, we frequently use joules, the place 1 joule is the same as the power wanted to push with a power of 1 newton over a distance of 1 meter. Lifting a textbook off the ground and placing it on a desk takes about 10 joules of power. One meals calorie is the same as about 4,184 joules.

However for this demonstration, I believe it’s greatest if we make up our personal unit of power. Let’s name it the PBJ—the peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich unit of power. That is the quantity of power you get from consuming one in every of these sandwiches, which is around 380 food calories or 1.59 million joules. With this PBJ unit, I can calculate the power value of superhero strikes by way of sandwiches. I simply assume that might be enjoyable.

Power Wanted for Nothing

Merely staying alive requires power: to breathe, pump blood, and even blink your eyes. The quantity of power it takes is named the basal metabolic rate, or BMR. A typical mortal human might have a BMR of round 1,500 to 2,000 meals energy a day. Changing to my most popular power unit, an individual makes use of about 4 to five PBJs a day. (Your mileage might differ.)

A BMR worth is dependent upon an individual’s age, weight, and peak—however the Hulk and She-Hulk aren’t normal-sized people, so they will not have regular BMRs. Let’s work out their weights and heights.

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