The theoretical musings continue.

It may be difficult to separate "theory" from "application," but let''s see if this helps facilitate the discussion.
grrr6
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Re: The theoretical musings continue.

Post by grrr6 » Sun Dec 14, 2003 12:04 am

In quantum physics, there is an explanation for ZPE. Apparently (since I have not the math skill to do it) if you solve shroedinger's equation for a vacuum, you will get a non-zero number. So that is energy. But it is not "tappable" in an way.

The quantum explanation for the casimir effect is simply that the small space between two plates is so small that the uncertainty principle does not allow as many particles to pop into and out of existence as it does outside the plates so there is an inward force. But since you did not create any energy on the whole, the particles must pop out of existence with the same energy as they had when they popped into existence. So while there is a force on the plate, it is forbidden to give any energy. here is where I do not fully understand it, since I am no physicist. Could the plates go through the discplacement, doing work from the virtual particles, but since it is a conservative force, when you pull the plates apart again, you would return that energy. Or is it that the virtual particles are forbidden to do work, so if the plates would go through a displacement doing work, the particles would automatically pop out of existence before they hit the outside of the plate, so that no force would occur doing no work. I am not sure on which it is. It seems intuitively that it would be the first, but also, since there is conservation of energy, it sould be the second too. hmmmm. But even if it was the first, the amount of energy that is available from the plates when they collapse into one bigger plate is virtually zero,even if you had huge plates, so......there probably would never be instruments precise enough to detect this.

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