Drowning in cooking oil

Okay, so this poor guy falls into a vat of unheated cooking oil and drowns.

Now, seeing as that water is heavier than oil (just try mixing the two a jar) do you think it’s impossible to tread water (er…oil that is) because your doomed to sink? Or do you think you could manage it if you really, really kicked hard (it’d have to be pretty hard I suppose, seeing as how viscous oil can be).

Well, I’ll bite.

I know this is GQ, and no, I don’t have any cites, but I imagine it is possible, though difficult, to keep afloat by treading er… oil. I don’t think that viscosity would have much effect. From the article you linked to, it seems that the guy fell head first into a tall and skinny tank and didn’t have room to turn himself right-side up.

What a way to go.

In the interests of accuracy, water is denser than cooking oil, not heavier.

I bet it is possible but difficult. there is a great diffrence swimming/treading salt and fresh water so oil would be many times harder

The density of cooking oilsl are typically around .9 gm/cc, while water, and humans, are ~1gm/cc. So a 200 lb person would have to maintain a constant thrust of ~20Lbs to stay afloat in cooking oil. That’s quite a lot of effort.

20 lbs is possible, but not for long. I had to do it during scuba training. Another factor is the viscosity, if it is ‘thicker’ you would get more ‘push’ with each stroke - meaning you could deliver more energy to the water.

BTW does anyone have the denspty of salt and fresh water handy?

I think that’s a moot point, seeing as how the human body is the same density as salt water. Heres what I found: