1. Mikmaxs
    Online

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    108

    How much weight can a person (Briefly) support?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Mikmaxs, Jul 15, 2016.

    In my story, I'm trying to establish early on a couple of things about a character and their setting. Namely, I want to establish that they're extremely defensive of a friend, that their scenario is mortally dangerous, and that this character is freaky strong.

    I intend to accomplish this with a cave-in. He and those with him were kidnapped and are being forced to work as slaves, clearing out collapsed rock piled in abandoned underground tunnels. The idea is that a shifting of rock will cause the antichamber they are in to collapse further, causing some rock to fall from the ceiling, and making one of the three remaining support pillars fall over. My character's friend (The one he is defensive of,) will be pinned beneath a smaller rock, and he'll grab the column to keep it from falling over long enough for the friend to get help and escape.

    The pillar is made of stone, but I haven't decided on the dimensions. He won't be holding it over his head like a deadlift or anything, just keeping it from falling all the way over, so he won't need to take its whole weight. Plus, he's not lifting it over his head or anything, just keeping it from completely falling for a few seconds.

    The deadlift record, from what I can find, is 500kg, or 1100 pounds. My character shouldn't be quite that strong, (he's not *that* strong,) but he's also tapping into that mother-lifting-a-car strength, so I'm using that as a sort of cap. I was thinking that a round pillar that's 8' long and 1.5' thick, which would weight a little over 2000 pounds, could work, but I wanted to get a second opinion before writing it into the story. I can adjust the dimensions one weigh or the other, (Pun!), either by just changing the size of the column, or having only part of it break, leaving a couple feet on the bottom that doesn't tip.

    Also, what would be the physical toll of doing something like this?
     
  2. Tenderiser
    Online

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,285
    Likes Received:
    5,154
    Location:
    London, UK
    Is he magical or a normal human with freakish strength?
     
  3. Mikmaxs
    Online

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    108
    He's a normal human, just one with freakish strength. I haven't written down his exact dimensions, but he's around 7 feet tall and with muscle mass to match.
     
  4. Tenderiser
    Online

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,285
    Likes Received:
    5,154
    Location:
    London, UK
    In that case I would not be able to swallow that he can hold up 2,000lbs, but I don't know what number would be feasible for me. Do you have to put the number in? Surely saying he's holding up a 8' stone column is enough to give the reader the general idea?
     
  5. Mikmaxs
    Online

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    108
    I'm not going to list the exact weight, though I am going to list the approximate dimensions of the column, so anyone who's curious and has access to Google and a calculator could punch the numbers and get an accurate-ish result. Would 1500 pounds be more reasonable? I could shrink down the column just a bit and get it to that range without making it an unrealistically small pillar.
     
  6. SethLoki
    Offline

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    472
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    If I'm envisaging this right surely one end of the column will be on the ground yes? And the lifter will be pivoting it on its edge to lift it off. The weight's halved right there and as the column is lifted it'll get easier and easier as it rises (fingal's fingers). Have it pivot on a lump of rubble and some part of the column will counterbalance itself. Doable I'd say for a strapping 7 footer.
     
  7. Mikmaxs
    Online

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    108
    That's right. And he won't even have to lift it off the ground, it's breaking and falling down, he's just keeping it from landing for a little while so someone else can escape.
     
  8. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,766
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Here is a link that you may find of use, that will show just how tough the skeleton is. Thus allowing one to bear great weight without causing a large amount of physical damage to the body under most applicable circumstances.

    http://ipfactly.com/human-bone-is-stronger-than-steel/
     
  9. CrusherBrooks
    Offline

    CrusherBrooks Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    69
    If I recall my lectures in medicine correctly, the human spine can support roughly 700 kg under ideal circumstances. This means strong, healthy young man, standing upright with the load coming from directly above him. The legs should be able to carry much more!
     
  10. newjerseyrunner
    Offline

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    209
    Weight (meaning the force from gravity) is not what will be the limiting factor. Did you say an object is already falling and has to be caught? The amount of force required is mass times acceleration. If you are picking something up, acceleration simply has to be greater than gravity, if you are catching it, you have to convert all that kinetic energy back into potential. However, if it's tipping over on an edge, you have a level affect. Could you provide a drawing of what you have in mind? I could provide you with the math required to make the calculations.
     
    Spencer1990 likes this.
  11. Catrin Lewis
    Offline

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,666
    Likes Received:
    1,064
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Be aware that if this abandoned mine has stone support pillars, they're most likely to be really thick, like this:

    [​IMG]

    A heavy timber support would be more likely, and there are legends and stories of "giants of men" who held timbers like that up long enough to allow fellow miners to escape. ("Big Bad John," anyone?)

    Ordinary people can perform amazing feats of strength when the adrenalin's going. Look it up.
     
  12. Mikmaxs
    Online

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    108
    Damn if that isn't a catchy song. Adding it to my playlist. Thanks!
     
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  13. theamorset
    Offline

    theamorset Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    68
    Location:
    midwest
    What's an antichamber?

    Does it demolish chambers?
     

Share This Page