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Thread: States of Matter

  1. #1 States of Matter 
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    Arranged in order of coldest to hottest, I would say:

    Bose-Einstein Condensate --> Solid --> Liquid --> Gas --> Plasma

    Generally, I would consider the B.E.C a state of matter because it has different properties that the conventional three states. (Would Quark-Gluon Plasma then be considered a sixth state...?)

    Anyway, I was conducting a thought experiment. From what I know, 0K is absolute zero, where 0 energy is contained within the matter. There is no maximum possible temperature for matter to be heated up to.

    However, based on my thought experiment, heat energy is essentially the movement or vibration of the particles in matter. In this case, should there not be a point where the heat is increased to the point that the particles begin to move at the speed of light? And if heat could be gained infinitely, could these particles not begin to move faster than light and hence become tachyons? (Disregarding the impossibility of tachyons and faster-than-light travel, for the moment) Therefore, would tese particles not move backwards in time?

    And as for absolute zero, what if something were cooled to below that? Would it not gain negative kinetic energy (taking the assumption that it could exist) and hence vibrate or move at negative speeds (again, try to disregard the impossibility of it) and move backwards in time, therefore also travelling faster than light and becoming tachyons? Would tachyons then also be considered a state of matter? At this point, it would be

    B.E.C --> Solid --> Liquid --> Gas --> Plasma
    v------------------Tachyons---------------------v

    And yes, I know that the post is riddled with many impossibilities and assumptions, but I was going with the way the thought experiment was taking me. By negative speed, I simply mean that it is travelling backwards in time. In this experiment, the states of matter and speed itself becomes a circle, and no longer linear.

    Feel free to correct me, since I'm striving to learn more about these things. This is merely a thought experiment based on what I have learnt so far in my explorations of physics, and additional information would help to refine future thought experiments. Unfortunately, I do not have the resources to conduct any actual experiments.


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    Wow...

    I didn't know that. At 170 nanokelvins, the Bose-Einstein Condensate Theory was shown to be accurate. Only took 70 years.

    I think tachyons would be a different beast however.

    Thanks for enticing me to learn something new.


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  4. #3  
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    However, based on my thought experiment, heat energy is essentially the movement or vibration of the particles in matter. In this case, should there not be a point where the heat is increased to the point that the particles begin to move at the speed of light?
    Quite correct. However, most of this energy would then be radiated away as photons, meaning that while the particles will gain energy, they will almost definitely radiate away the energy you gave them, so they never really will reach precisely the speed of light, which is impossible in any case.

    Furthermore, relativity implies that the greater the velocity, the greater the relative mass of the particles. Mathematically speaking, in order to actually get them to the speed of light, you would require infinite energy - or heat - which any layman knows is impossible, simply to counteract the effect of the mass on the acceleration of the particles to light speed.

    So, unless you know how to supply infinite heat, the question is itself moot.

    And as for absolute zero, what if something were cooled to below that?
    Actually reaching absolute zero is in itself impossible, not least because doing so would violate the Uncertainty Principle. Actually going below that is then nothing short of impossible; it's as likely as getting a particle to have negative speed, or cover negative distance.
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    A few points. I think QGP is considered a separate state from plasma, since plasma is when the electrons come off the atoms, and QGP is when the nucleons come apart.

    Also, there is a highest possible temperature, or at least, I think this is the highest possible temperature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_temperature (Even if it isn't, Liongold is right about needing infinite energy to make the particles move at the speed of light.)

    BTW, there are other phases of matter (sub-phases?) besides those listed. Look at superfluids and supersolids.
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  6. #5 Re: States of Matter 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quetzhal
    However, based on my thought experiment, heat energy is essentially the movement or vibration of the particles in matter. In this case, should there not be a point where the heat is increased to the point that the particles begin to move at the speed of light? And if heat could be gained infinitely, could these particles not begin to move faster than light and hence become tachyons? (Disregarding the impossibility of tachyons and faster-than-light travel, for the moment) Therefore, would tese particles not move backwards in time?
    As they approach the speed of light, a portion of the energy is turned into mass. How much of the energy becomes mass depends how much energy is applied: at low speeds, none/almost none does, but to achieve a speed of 0.99999c, almost all of the energy put into the system becomes mass. As the speed approaches c, the energy requires reaches infinity, so they will never reach the speed of light.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    A few points. I think QGP is considered a separate state from plasma, since plasma is when the electrons come off the atoms, and QGP is when the nucleons come apart.
    This makes me really curious. If the separate atoms moving closer and closer to the speed of light means their electrons will split off, what would happen if a body of matter, like a space ship were approaching the speed of light? Would the electrons split off of the individual atoms that it's composed of as well, or does that only happen to masses that are in a state of plasma?

    Also, there is a highest possible temperature, or at least, I think this is the highest possible temperature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_temperature (Even if it isn't, Liongold is right about needing infinite energy to make the particles move at the speed of light.)
    Is the reason they can't reach the speed of light caused more by the increase in mass, or the tendency of the matter itself to radiate energy away in the form of photons, and thus slow themselves back down?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    A few points. I think QGP is considered a separate state from plasma, since plasma is when the electrons come off the atoms, and QGP is when the nucleons come apart.
    This makes me really curious. If the separate atoms moving closer and closer to the speed of light means their electrons will split off, what would happen if a body of matter, like a space ship were approaching the speed of light? Would the electrons split off of the individual atoms that it's composed of as well, or does that only happen to masses that are in a state of plasma?
    No. The motion of the atoms of the spaceship relative to each other would still be in the usual ranges, no matter how fast the spaceship was moving relative to an outside observer (ignoring friction).

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Also, there is a highest possible temperature, or at least, I think this is the highest possible temperature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_temperature (Even if it isn't, Liongold is right about needing infinite energy to make the particles move at the speed of light.)
    Is the reason they can't reach the speed of light caused more by the increase in mass, or the tendency of the matter itself to radiate energy away in the form of photons, and thus slow themselves back down?
    Both. The rate of cooling is proportional to the difference in temperature for convection and conduction, and (AFAIK) proportional to the absolute temperature for radiation, so a hotter object will cool faster. Simultaneously, it would still take infinite energy to get the atoms up to light speed, even if that energy was dumped in all at once, before the object could start cooling.
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    Furthermore, relativity implies that the greater the velocity, the greater the relative mass of the particles. Mathematically speaking, in order to actually get them to the speed of light, you would require infinite energy - or heat - which any layman knows is impossible, simply to counteract the effect of the mass on the acceleration of the particles to light speed.
    For some reason, this reminds me of something I read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose-Ei...rrent_research

    Last sentence:

    Hau and her associates at Harvard University have since successfully transformed light into matter and back into light using Bose–Einstein condensates: details of the experiment are discussed in an article in the journal Nature, 8 February 2007.
    I don't have the journal, but does this not imply it is possible for matter to travel at light speed (or at least turn into light)? And in regards to infinite energy, I do know that it is supposedly impossible for something to escape from a black hole when an object passes its event horizon-- It would require infinite energy to do so. Does that not imply a black hole has infinite (or close to) energy? (Come to think of it, when an object passes it's schwarzschild radius, where does all gravity come from that turns it into a black hole?)

    Actually reaching absolute zero is in itself impossible, not least because doing so would violate the Uncertainty Principle. Actually going below that is then nothing short of impossible; it's as likely as getting a particle to have negative speed, or cover negative distance.
    Does the uncertainty priniciple not state that the more we know momentum, the less we know position, and vice-versa? At absolute zero it would have zero momentum and the position would be unknown, but it should nonethless still exist? *vaguely confused*

    As to negatives, if negative energy is possible, why not negative speeds? ...So to speak, assuming negative means that an object would move backwards in time. According to this book I have here "Breaking the Time Barrier" (which is what spurred my thought experiment, haha, and yes it is a physics book, it isn't science fiction...) "negative energy" is possible. If I've interpretated it wrong, please correct me:

    ...Olum designed mathematical modules that sent EM radiation along thousands of different paths between two locations in space. He then calculated how this radiation would interact with other paticles existing in space as it completed the various paths to make such a journey. On each path the radiation interacted with a range of subatomic particles, thereby creating a vast range of collisions, annihilations, and formation of new particles of the kind seen in particle accelerators. He found that the time taken for each hourney depended upon the kind of particles the EM radiation intercepted on route. The fastest path occurred when the beams of EM radiation encountered pockets of "negative energy." His calculations revealed that this odd phenomenon was an occasional result of how particle interactions would balance out among the various possible paths that the radiation could travel. Olum found that there were indeed regions of space where the billions of subatomic particles that might be met by the radiation possessed such a range of individual properties that the net result of summing their masses together might now and then form a negative number. This negative mss was a statistical consequence but...
    Anyway, it is negative energy... sort of. Another part of the book addressed objects moving backwards in time, but I can't seem to find it. While I agree that it is impossible to cool something down beyond absolute zero with our current technology, I believe that there should be some way or the other to induce a similar effect (cooling to the point that the substance moves backwards in time, to put it differently).

    I'm pretty sure my thought experiment is understood outside of the impossibility of certain things, so overall I'm quite satisfied xD

    Also, there is a highest possible temperature, or at least, I think this is the highest possible temperature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_temperature (Even if it isn't, Liongold is right about needing infinite energy to make the particles move at the speed of light.)

    BTW, there are other phases of matter (sub-phases?) besides those listed. Look at superfluids and supersolids.
    I'm... not sure I understand the Planck temperature, but outside of that, I didn't mention superfluids, supersolids, etc mainly because they have kinda the same physical (by which I mean appearance, ignoring the fact that superfluids climb up walls) properties as liquids. Or solids. That, and they weren't factored into my thought experiment xD

    As they approach the speed of light, a portion of the energy is turned into mass. How much of the energy becomes mass depends how much energy is applied: at low speeds, none/almost none does, but to achieve a speed of 0.99999c, almost all of the energy put into the system becomes mass. As the speed approaches c, the energy requires reaches infinity, so they will never reach the speed of light.
    So energy is converted into mass? That's strange, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. As to the issue of infinite energy, I addressed that somewhere up there... and I'll quote myself for convenience xP
    For some reason, this reminds me of something I read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose-Ei...rrent_research

    Last sentence:

    Hau and her associates at Harvard University have since successfully transformed light into matter and back into light using Bose–Einstein condensates: details of the experiment are discussed in an article in the journal Nature, 8 February 2007.
    I don't have the journal, but does this not imply it is possible for matter to travel at light speed (or at least turn into light)? And in regards to infinite energy, I do know that it is supposedly impossible for something to escape from a black hole when an object passes its event horizon-- It would require infinite energy to do so. Does that not imply a black hole has infinite (or close to) energy? (Come to think of it, when an object passes it's schwarzschild radius, where does all gravity come from that turns it into a black hole?)
    Kojax, I don't think I can answer your questions accurately. I think that it would only turn into plasma if the vibration of the atoms in the spaceship came close to the speed of light, as opposed to the spaceship itself travelling at the speed of light, but I could be wrong.

    Anyway, thanks for responding guys, I learned quite a bit ^^ (If it wasn't obvious, I'm quite tired right now, sorry)
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  10. #9  
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    Does the uncertainty priniciple not state that the more we know momentum, the less we know position, and vice-versa? At absolute zero it would have zero momentum and the position would be unknown, but it should nonethless still exist? *vaguely confused*
    Not exactly. Your description of the principle is correct; however, I invite you to consider the situation at absolute zero. For obvious reasons, the velocity of the particle must be 0 - for absolute zero implies absolutely no energy - and since we know now the velocity, it is a simply matter to determine the position without needing to measure the velocity; we will then know both the position and velocity simultaneously, thereby violating the uncertainty principle.

    As to negatives, if negative energy is possible, why not negative speeds?
    Forgive me, but how exactly do you propose that there exist a negative speed? Can you attain a speed less than zero? I'd certainly like to see anyone attain that speed; relativistically, relative mass would then decrease rather than increase, a phenomenon I have never been familiar with.

    Let me give you an example of why negative speed cannot possibly exist. Speed, as you know, is distance divided by time; distance is always positive, as basic mathematics shows, so the only way to obtain negative speed is to assume that negative time can also exist. And since I very highly doubt time travel into the past is possible, there is no such question of negative time emerging whatsoever.

    According to this book I have here "Breaking the Time Barrier" (which is what spurred my thought experiment, haha, and yes it is a physics book, it isn't science fiction...) "negative energy" is possible.
    Negative energy is possible; negative time, however, is not.

    So energy is converted into mass? That's strange, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. As to the issue of infinite energy, I addressed that somewhere up there... and I'll quote myself for convenience xP
    And here I was under the assumption that the fact that energy can be converted into mass was one of the most famous facts of the twentieth century physics. Haven't you heard of ? :wink:
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  11. #10  
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    Not exactly. Your description of the principle is correct; however, I invite you to consider the situation at absolute zero. For obvious reasons, the velocity of the particle must be 0 - for absolute zero implies absolutely no energy - and since we know now the velocity, it is a simply matter to determine the position without needing to measure the velocity; we will then know both the position and velocity simultaneously, thereby violating the uncertainty principle.
    Oh, I get it now. I was taking the assumption that the object cooled to absolute zero would "rearrange" (forgive my choice of words, I'm rather sleepy at the moment) themselves such that we would be unable to find the position (if my memory serves me correctly, Einstein predicted that the Bose-Einstein condensate would be a so-called "gas" because of the principle, rather than a typical solid/liquid as one might otherwise assume. I was assuming at 0K, this would be taken further.
    Forgive me, but how exactly do you propose that there exist a negative speed? Can you attain a speed less than zero? I'd certainly like to see anyone attain that speed; relativistically, relative mass would then decrease rather than increase, a phenomenon I have never been familiar with.

    Let me give you an example of why negative speed cannot possibly exist. Speed, as you know, is distance divided by time; distance is always positive, as basic mathematics shows, so the only way to obtain negative speed is to assume that negative time can also exist. And since I very highly doubt time travel into the past is possible, there is no such question of negative time emerging whatsoever.
    Pretty much the entire physics book I read was about time travelling. I'm not entirely convinced of its possibility, but I wouldn't say it's impossible, either. Again, I refer you to the double-slit experiment mentioned in this book (though it is rather old...) in which the detectors were switched on after the experiment itself, and yet the result was just as though the detectors had been turned on during the experiment. This is a phenomenon of information travelling backwards in time-- Sort of. (Honestly, this book is pretty old. The information could be outdated and such.)

    And here I was under the assumption that the fact that energy can be converted into mass was one of the most famous facts of the twentieth century physics. Haven't you heard of E = mc^2? Wink
    ...To be honest with you, I've done far more research into things like condensates, black holes, and general quantum physics and never really paid attention to E = mc ^ 2. Heheh. ^^;;
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  12. #11  
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    It's easier to show that negative speed is meaningless by saying that speed is defined as the absolute value of velocity, and there's no way to get a negative out of an absolute value.
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