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March 26, 2017

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Steel expands 11 parts in a million for each 1 degree C change. Consider a 40,000 km steel pipe that forms a ring to fit snugly all around the circumference of the Earth. Suppose people along its length breathe on it so as to raise its temperature 0.80 degree C. The pipe gets longer. It also is no longer snug. How high does it stand above ground level? (To simplify, consider only the expansion of its radial distance from the center of Earth, and apply the geometry formula that relates circumference C and radius r, C = 2 \pi r. The result is surprising!)

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