In physics class, we had a fun and challenging project, which we researched the physics behind a superhero of our choice. So, learn why Ant-Man still has his super strength when he’s small with my writing below!
Dr. Hank Pym invented a suit that allows someone to shift size: to the size of an ant. He did so by using the Pym particle to create the “reducing serum.” The suit is made out of “unstable molecules and steel mesh.” Ant-Man gains his size-shifting superpower from this remarkable suit. This super suit is capable of reducing size, while remaining typical human strength. But there are something about it that’s far from reality.
Galileo created this law, which states “When an object undergoes a proportional increase in size, its new volume is proportional to the cube of the multiplier and its new surface area is proportional to the square of the multiplier.” In simpler words, if an object increases its size by two times, the volume would be eight times greater and the surface would be four times greater. This works the same way when an object shrinks: the volume would be eight times smaller and the surface would decrease by four times. This law also tells us that the strength associated with area and the mass associated with volume.
So if Ant-Man becomes the size of an ant, his area and volume would decrease accordingly. This would mean his strength and mass would diminish drastically! Since force link with mass, where did Ant-Man get his force to punch someone that’s greatly bigger than him when he’s the size of an ant? That’s quite far from reality. But if he breaks the Square/Cube Law and had his human-size mass, he would be able to maintain the force. That brings us to another problem. If Ant-Man has the same mass with a smaller volume, all the atoms would be compressed in a small size. He would be so dense that he would sink to Earth.
Then, how would that be possible?
Higgs Field and Pym Field
Higgs field is the reason objects in the universe have mass. If an object experiences a harder time going through Higgs field, it has more mass and less difficult means less mass. If we can change that difficulty (changing the strength between the object and the field), we can change the mass.
On the other hand, we are able to change the strength between an atom and Pym field (discovered by Pym Hank in the Marvel comic), therefore, change the size of an object. But It’s difficult to shift size because we can’t easily remove or add atoms. We don’t know where would those atoms come from or go to, and how would we ensure that it will come back together when we want to get back to the original size.
The comic recommends that those atoms can be stored in the Kosmos dimension. Another suggestion would be to modify the constant that controls the size of an atom. For example, Planck’s constant, which determines the radius of the atoms, can become 10 times smaller, making the radius of the atom 100 times small. The radius is only one dimension of an atom; if all dimensions become smaller, the size would become millions of time smaller, according to the Square/cube law. However, the mass would remain the same, making Ant Man’s body really dense.
So, what would make it possible?
Cross-interaction between Higgs field and Pym field
In order to make that happen, Higgs field and Pym field needs to work together to reduce the mass and size, respectively. So if the mass decreases, the size would also decrease to remain at the same density, but that would cause less strength. So when he needs to use his force, for instance when punching, Higgs and Pym field would have to disconnect. This means he could momentarily gain his original weight, and therefore, exert the same amount of force as he was his normal size. How Ant-Man can connect and disconnect between the two fields might have to connect with Kosmos dimension and Quantum Realm, where atoms can be stored.