[extropy-chat] Casimir Torque Project

Mike Lorrey mlorrey at yahoo.com
Fri May 6 18:52:04 UTC 2005

--- Hal Finney <hal at finney.org> wrote:
> Adrian Tymes writes:
> > Only if there are no discontinuities in the system, and
> discontinuities
> > are impossible in most systems.  But they seem to exist here, and
> > that's the point of the system.
> There are no discontinuities in nature.

Other than black hole event horizons, strings, entangled particles, and
of course, death.

> All of your materials are made of atoms which have a finite size.

a finite probable size, no less, but also a possible infinite size.

> There are no infinitely sharp points
> where force drops instantaneously from 1 to 0. 

On the contrary, when you are dealing with fractions of wavelengths,
force does drop of from 1 to 0. That is the point of quantum mechanics:
reality is digital. If it doesn't drop off that way, then reality can't
be digital, at least with respect to forces involved in this effect.

> (Note that I disagree
> that your design would produce any rotary force at all, but I am
> trying to point out some flaws in your own model.)
> > It might be useful to think of this experiment as verifying whether
> the
> > Casimir effect is indeed a conservative force, like gravity, or is
> a
> > source of energy that needs certain mechanisms to tap, like
> radiation
> > from the Sun.  (Chlorophyll and solar cells are not the simplest of
> > systems, and a bug that skitters towards the brightest light source
> but
> > can not fly would be stuck motionless on perfectly level ground at
> noon
> > since all reachable points nearby would be equally bright.) 
> Previous
> > efforts to tap it have indicated the former, but our current
> > understanding of its nature indicates the latter.
> I don't understand where you get the claim that Casimir is a non-
> conservative force. My understanding is exactly the opposite. Can
> you
> provide a reference, or a derivation, which argues that Casimir force
> is non-conservative?

Take two plates gapped by a very small amount and spaced that amount by
struts. There is constant pressure being applied to both sides. Where
is the energy needed to apply this constant force coming from? The
pressure apparently exists against all matter, not just two plates with
space between them, it is just that the space causes a sort of vacuum
that allows a differential with the outside pressure.

If it is somehow possible to bias this force to create asymmetric
forces on either side, then you have a propulsion system. If you can
make a device that uses such forces to spin, you have a motor.

Mike Lorrey
Vice-Chair, 2nd District, Libertarian Party of NH
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
                                      -William Pitt (1759-1806) 
Blog: http://intlib.blogspot.com

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