[extropy-chat] Re: Casimir Torque Project

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Fri May 6 14:54:32 UTC 2005

--- ben <benboc at lineone.net> wrote:
> The Casimir force, as far as i understand (i'm no physicist, so this
> may 
> be way off), is analogous to the force that pushes ships into harbour
> walls, with virtual particles being equivalent to the waves in the
> water.
> If this is a good analogy, wouldn't a proof of concept of Adrian's 
> device be a macro-scale version, sitting in the sea (or a slightly 
> smaller one in a bathtub, with a suitable wave generator)? If the 
> concept is sound, and the analogy is sound, this might be a useful 
> 'alternative energy' device even if for some reason a zero-point
> energy 
> device can't work.

Unfortunately, whether or not it worked, people could then argue about
whether the analogy was sufficiently good that its working or not
working would be a proof or disproof.  So it wouldn't suffice to prove
or disprove the nanoscale device, at least nearly as well as the
nanoscale device itself.

That said, there definitely have been devices that tap waves for
energy, albeit in different configurations.  Such devices provide a
(small) portion of the world's electricity today, so they definitely
are useful "alternative energy" devices.  But if you want to look up
ocean power systems, try looking up OTEC
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OTEC ) - which relies on nothing more
than natural convection currents, and can in theory last as long as the
Earth and the Sun do in their current states.

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