How Fast are Barry
Allen’s Fingers Moving?
Name: Julissa Lopez
In the CW television series The Flash, a man named Barry
Allen is struck by lightning the same time the particle accelerator is set off.
Because of this he became a metahuman, and has incredible speed. This speed
allows him to go speeds no normal human can go. In one episode, he uses his
speed and his punch to hit a man made out of steel. Reading about this
information, I decided wanted to calculate how fast
his fingers snapped in order to ignite a fire in another episode.
In the series, it was said he had to break the sound barrier
and reached 837 mph to punch Girder.
When zoomed in, it is shown that gas he is using is propane. I will find
the heat energy and the velocity at which his fingers are snapping. I will use
the specific heat formula, we learned from Chapter 18, and apply to this.
Afterwards, I will use the velocity equation to find the velocity of his
The molar mass of Propane is 44.0952 g/mol, the specific
heat is 1.67 j/ mol, and the temperature where it is flammable is 400C or 743K.
The average room temperature is 298K. Now adding that together we’ll get
(44.10g/mol)(1.67j/mol)(743K-298K)= 32772.915 kg/m2/s-2
This is the thermal energy.
To find the velocity, we are going to use 1/2mv2=Q,
I used the mass of the average male finger is 100g, convert that to kilograms.
We get 0.1kg.
V= 572.4763313885 m/s
Now I converted this into miles/hr and got 1280.5926m/hr
This means his fingers are snapping at 1280 miles per hour!
The physics would be possible if superhumans existed in the
real word, however, I realized something a bit later on after my calculation. I
realized instead of thermal energy ignition, it would actually be an electrical
ignition. He isn’t snapping his fingers in that rate, but fast enough to
activate the speed force around him.