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Propulsion Disk
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How do you think we can get to Proxima b?

10 Jun 2018 10:44

FastFourierTransform wrote:
Propulsion Disk wrote:
Source of the post which means electrons get eroded by the things in space

I know we said this several times now but I want to emphasize this. If atomic erosion is a strange use of the term "erosion" then electron erosion is just totally wrong. Electrons are elementary particles, they do not erode. If you have a strange substance made of billions of electrons then yeah, you could say that de substance can be eroded, electrons can be lost, electrons can be dispersed with time by mechanical or electromagnetic forces, but that is the erosion of your special "electron substance" in the best case, no erosion of the electrons themselves. No electron is different from any other electron in the entire cosmos (besides their location in space). They all have the same mass, the same charge and the same spin. An electron "eroding" would transform into what? what aditional feature would change so you can discern between a fresh new electron and an eroded one? would lose what? mass? charge? then is not an elecron anymore (ignoring the fact that electron's charge is a quanta and it can't be lost). Would they change form? their rought spherical surfaces would be polished by erosion? No, because they don't have texture, they don't have any geometrical form associated with them. The representation of electrons as colored tiny spheres is just misleading when it comes to this. They are just that, a mass, a charge and a precise spin combined. They are elementary particles, fundamental blocks of nature. You can disarange a collection of fundamental blocks but you can't disarange them one by one because they are just that, elemetary in nature and all identical with one another. If they could be eroded then electrons wouldn't be elementary particles, they could be split in more elementary pieces so they would be complex composite objects. But there is not a single line of evidence pointing to that and there is no theoretical backup for that idea either so talking about erosion at this scale is just wrong.


I'm goin to give you a more common example for what we mean here by simple vs complex systems;
Do you have a LCD TV screen near you? Take a close look to the screen (with a magnifying glass if you can). You would notice that the image is generated by small elementary pixels. Each pixel has 3 properties, or in this case 3 colors, red, green and blue, that light up in a controled fashion.

Image


As you can see there is no yellow color. But your screen is sure capable of producing yellow tones, and orange, and purple, and black. Where are these colors coming from if your screen is just a collection of red, green, blue lightbulbs? Well, one way of saying it is that yellow it's coming from complexity of the system. The arrangement of pixels, their lighting patterns can generate an emergent property in a macroscopic scale that is an entire new color, and that color is something more than the sum of the colors each pixel has. Your screen is a complex system, your pixels are not, they are "the elementary particles" of the "TV screen universe".

So, does one pixel has yellow in it somewhere? No. Does one pixel has the potentiality of yellow in it? No. There is some essence of yelowness in each pixel? No. Is complexity the one that generated the yellow color in your screen (it could be regarded as an effect that has to do with the integration in time and frequency domain of our visual system, don't think of it as ghostly appearence, but in the end is just an emergent feature of a complex system).

The same works with the mind. Do you think a neuron has conciusness? or intelligence? No, they only perform chemical reactions. But when you contemplate the macroscopic scale of an array of billions of neurons firing with certain patterns then an emergent property comes out. Intelligence and counciousness could only be that, an emergent property of a vast collection of neurons. Neurons don't have intelligence as the pixels lack yellow, but complexity bring both to life.

The same reasoning can be applied here. Atoms nor electrons can have erosion, because erosion is an emergent phenomena when contemplating vast arrangements of particles, like a mountain, a rock or a screw. There is no erosion for each individual component of matter. It wouldn't make sense. This is not a semantic problem it has to do with mixing everyday classical concepts that can apply to our macroscopic world with a realm where they do not apply anymore. You can't search for erosion if the system is not complex enought, as you can't find the yellowness of your pixels in your TV, or the conciusness of a neuron in your brain, or a computer virus in an electrical circuit, or a master plan in the contruction of an ant colony, etc...


I recognize that there is also a semantic issue here in the case of atoms (since atoms can be dissasembled because they are a little higher in the staircase of complexity when compared to electrons). There is also a debate on the metaphysics of identity. A rock can lose it's pointy shape while been eroded by a river and lose some mass (grains are been stripped from the rock itself) but still be considered and categorised as a rock. An atom is not like that. If an hydrogen atom lose an electron it's strange to call it an atom anymore because it's just a proton. If an hydrogen atom loses it's proton then you just have an electron, so it is difficult to follow the idea of erosion here, just as a non-alcoholic Cuba Libre is just Coca-Cola. But I don't care about this since methaphysics shouldn't be part of any rational discussion. I care about aplying macroscopic behaviours to sub-atomic particles.

So the Wikipedia was wrong! it said that the starshot's coating was to prevent "atomic particle erosion" and that made me think that the coating was to protect the electrons (atomic particles) from cosmic rays. It says right here, "atomic particle erosion" in the "protective coating" section. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_Starshot#Protective_coating
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How do you think we can get to Proxima b?

11 Jun 2018 05:38

Propulsion Disk wrote:
Source of the post It says right here, "atomic particle erosion" in the "protective coating"

Wikipedia is not wrong. Maybe it's easy to misinterpret that. When they say atomic particle erosion they are not talking about atoms or subatomic particles been eroded, they are refering to the erosion produced BY atomic particles ON the coatings of the solar sail. At relativistic speeds cosmic rays, atoms and even molecules can hit with such energy that, with enought time, the coatings can lose mass by violent sputtering. It's the coatings (layers of billions of atoms) that get eroded not the atoms themselves. Atomic particles are just the projectiles that are actively eroding the material of the coating not the subjects of erosion.
 
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How do you think we can get to Proxima b?

11 Jun 2018 06:48

FastFourierTransform wrote:
Propulsion Disk wrote:
Source of the post It says right here, "atomic particle erosion" in the "protective coating"

Wikipedia is not wrong. Maybe it's easy to misinterpret that. When they say atomic particle erosion they are not talking about atoms or subatomic particles been eroded, they are refering to the erosion produced BY atomic particles ON the coatings of the solar sail. At relativistic speeds cosmic rays, atoms and even molecules can hit with such energy that, with enought time, the coatings can lose mass by violent sputtering. It's the coatings (layers of billions of atoms) that get eroded not the atoms themselves. Atomic particles are just the projectiles that are actively eroding the material of the coating not the subjects of erosion.

Oh, easy misunderstanding. But to be fair it would have more sense if they said it like,
"A coating, possibly made of beryllium copper, is planned to protect the nanocraft from dust collisions and erosion from cosmic rays."
I'm good when it comes to Physics, Algebra, Relativity, Space, and SpaceEngine. But I could still use a LOT of help on the things I still don't know. So I hope I get a lot of help on how all that works, here!
 
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How do you think we can get to Proxima b?

11 Jun 2018 07:18

Does anyone know what the starshot looks like?
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22 Jun 2018 17:00

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post Batteries and MMRTGs also do not make new electrons anymore than capacitors do.

I looked back and found this. On the Wikipedia it says that MMRTGs use the natural decay of plutonium 238 to make ELECTRICITY, electricity is the same as voltage right? So MMRTGs can produce electrons for capacitors.
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22 Jun 2018 18:01

Decay produces alpha and beta particles, which have positive and negative charge respectively, but they are protons/neutrons and electrons simply stripped away because of the instability of 238Pu atoms, not created from nothingness, I think that's what Watsisname is saying.
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23 Jun 2018 01:35

Electricity is just the flow of electrons or ions, and also electron vacancies "holes"

Any form of generation merely pushes them around to produce a flow, which then can be used to have useful work done.

RGTs are basically a heat source with a sort of peltier modules run in reverse to produce a flow of electricity as opposed to running electricity through them for a heat pump effect (cooling effect)
 
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23 Jun 2018 02:29

Propulsion Disk wrote:
Source of the post On the Wikipedia it says that MMRTGs use the natural decay of plutonium 238 to make ELECTRICITY, electricity is the same as voltage right? So MMRTGs can produce electrons for capacitors.

Electricity, by itself, is a broad term that could mean different more specific things. In the case of Wikipedia's article when they say "MMRTGs make electricity" they are saying that MMRTGs can generate electric current (and that in turn means some Voltage yes). But nothing here says that new electrons are produced (nor they say that they anything about capacitors). Electric current as a physical phenomenon does not need new electrons (or electric charges in general) to withstand. Electric current is the flow of electric charge. If you are able to make that flow continuous in a close circuit then no new electrons are needed, you provide the same many many times.

Let's digress into the hidraulic analogy (water flows behave in many aspects like charge flow in a circuit so there are a lot of clever examples that can be translated to hidraulic circuits to make the topic closer to our daily experience). Electric in yellow and hidraulic equivalent in turquoise. You can immagine electric current as a water flow, electrons or any electrical charge is equivalent to the water molecules in the water flow. A river flows from the top of a mountain to the bottom following the gravitational field of Earth just as electric charges follow the electric field inside the wires. The difference in height from the top of the mountain and the bottom inside the gravitational field gives rise to a potential energy at the top of the mountain that is slowly transformed into kinetic energy as the water moves to get to the bottom, in electricity there's the electric potential energy, that gives rise to the same behaviour; the electric charges move as they search a way to release the pontential energy (voltage is just a way to measure the potential energy without taking into account the charge of the particle so is a little more abstract concept but it almost represent the same as potential energy). Now if you don't put more water on top of the mountain the river will finally dry out, but we can use mechanical force to lift the water accumulated in the bottom to the top of the mountain again with a water pump so that we don't need more water molecules than those we have in the hydraulic circuit. The same reasoning works for electric current; if we let the current flow through the wire there is going to be a moment were it stops, when all the potential energy has been released and the charges have no reason to flow uppwards into the voltage hill again. But we can put a battery in the circuit so that the carges can be lifted to a higher potential energy (or voltage) and the flow can start again, like an electric fountain.

So a battery does not generate new electrons nor is a deposit of electrons just like a water pump is not a "water molecules generator" nor a water deposit. A battery is a device that uses energy (generally stored in the chemical bonds of some substances) to generate a force (electromotive force is called) that can lift charges to a higher voltage so that the electric circuit can start again and the flow of charges (the current) can endure. A water pump is a device that uses energy (for example stored chemically in your muscles) to generate a force (a mechanical force) that can lift water molecules to a higher place inside the gravitational field of Earth, so that the hydraulic circuit can start again and the flow of water (the hydraulic current) can endure. It's important to note: the system of water pump and arm muscles is like the battery in the electric realm, both store energy (and they can be depleted of it, as your muscles get exhaust and you need nutrients to regain your hability to move them or as the chemical reactions inside the battery cease and it gets discharged), they do not store water or electrons, just energy to pump those into higher potentials.
In reality this is much more complex and I haven't been strictly rigorous (energy is not the cause of a force for example but I wrote it like that to make it more easy to follow the main reasoning).


The hydraulic analogs have helped students for decades to understand how electric circuits work with everyday examples. Using sponges as resistors, pumps as batteries, diafragms and water tanks as capacitors and pipes as wires you can even build anhydraulic computer (not very fast but very educational) that can even solve advanced differential equations.

Take a look to some of these videos, they are very helpfull to understand visually what's going on.



 
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How do you think we can get to Proxima b?

23 Jun 2018 06:10

The water flow from a mountain analogy has some limitations, though. It's a bit hard to visualise AC that way.
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How do you think we can get to Proxima b?

23 Jun 2018 06:58

FastFourierTransform wrote:
Source of the post Electricity, by itself, is a broad term that could mean different more specific things. In the case of Wikipedia's article when they say "MMRTGs make electricity" they are saying that MMRTGs can generate electric current (and that in turn means some Voltage yes). But nothing here says that new electrons are produced

Electrons don't have to be produced to work because the Wikipedia said that the sole purpose of a capacitor is to turn an alternating voltage current, to a direct voltage current, it doesn't say anything about it needing electrons to start up or anything.
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23 Jun 2018 08:07

Propulsion Disk wrote:
Source of the post  it doesn't say anything about it needing electrons to start up or anything

I'm afraid I'm a bit confused by your wording. If you're referring to capacitors, they're merely containers where you store potential energy by using an electric field, which is generated from an external electric source, so of course they need electrons to "start up".
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23 Jun 2018 09:40

Mosfet wrote:
Propulsion Disk wrote:
Source of the post  it doesn't say anything about it needing electrons to start up or anything

I'm afraid I'm a bit confused by your wording. If you're referring to capacitors, they're merely containers where you store potential energy by using an electric field, which is generated from an external electric source, so of course they need electrons to "start up".

I just looked back and your right! the wikipedia said so at the beginning. (how did I miss that.) But now that brings up other questions, how do you make electrons? is it with a "external electric source" and if so what is that?
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23 Jun 2018 12:53

This is getting quite off-topic PropulsionDisk. Maybe we should follow the discussion in the Science questions thread since how an electric circuit works is not the main issue to get to Proxima Centauri. Anyways I respond here one last time (let's migrate if you want to keep it going ok?).

Propulsion Disk wrote:
Source of the post But now that brings up other questions, how do you make electrons? is it with a "external electric source" and if so what is that?

How do you make electrons? Well first you have to create the universe. No, really. Electrons aren't created, they are fundamental particles that have been here since the birth of matter. EDIT:Electrons can be created in fact sorry, I always forget that particle physics is quite crazy. But you can't create them out of nothing and the charge and energy-mass of the electron is trully a thing that has been here since the birth of matter.

In the case of a circuit you don't bring electrons from an outside source (at least in principle), you just use the electrons embeded in the copper wire. There is no external electric source if by that you mean an electron source. A typical circuit has external energy inputs like the one provided by the chemical reactions inside the battery to generate an electromotive force and other elements so that voltage is mantained. Electrons were on the wire even before the circuit itself was assembled, they were in the copper even before they copper was mined and extracted from the Earth's crust.

The important thing in electromechanics is how to get the voltage, the energy, the current, but not the electrons. You are looking at electric circuits as if they were a particle accelerator but they are not. You don't have a reservoir of electrons an shoot them through the wire, you have electrons in the wire, from start to end, and you play with potential energy to make them flow. You can see that in the videos I posted before (I know they are slow but this is well explained in my opinion).


midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post The water flow from a mountain analogy has some limitations, though.

This is also a very important point PropulsionDisk. Analogies are just that. They only get parts of the behaviour of a system and translate them to more common everyday systems so that we can use them as comprehension tools, but they are always limited. There are a lot of mechanical analogues for electricity and each of those has regions where they are usefull an regions where they become a source of wrong assumptions. If I told you that a snowman is an analogy of a real human being, then the anology could work for a certain field inside anatomy but it can't work as a medical model for example; a snowman has a "nose", has lateral symetry, has human size, has a head, a torso etc... so we could gain confidence with the analogy to the point we confuse it with the actual human and ask if human beings die slowly as the Sun evaporates them. No humans are not like that but it's true that humans have a head in analogy to the snowman. That is an abuse of the analogy and there you have a person who has forgotten that this is just an analogy and not the actual mathematical model that describes human beings.

The hydraulic analogy article in wikipedia has a section where they map the limitations of the analogy precisely. I've tried to use the analogy were it makes sense and there is a reciprocal for a concept in electricity, but keep that in mind PropulsionDisk, electricity has nothing to do with rivers in reality and your last question invites me to think you just abused the analogy. You don't need electrons coming from outside as water in a river because in electricity the electrons are there in the wire from beggining to end. Also you don't need the electrons to "flow from the top of the mountain" to the bottom to make the current complete the entire circuit end therefore make it work. In reality electrons move at millimeters per hour speeds (extremely slow if you take into accountthat electricity is a close-to speed of light influence) but they are able to light a bulb a thousand kilometers away just in a fraction of a second, because the electric signal is carried by the electric field under the voltage applied (different electrons located across the entire wire respond to that field) and it is not carried by the electrons that are in one end of the wire moving to the other end (in fact electrons flow in the opposite direction of current making it weirder). It's strange I know. But that's how it works. No water analogy will ever describe in full detail and coherence the real behaviour of electricity and that's the reason electricity is an entirely separate phenomena in nature and not the same as a "fluid substance that behaves weird", which was an actual hypothesis back in the good old days and is now regarded as pseudoscience.
 
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How do you think we can get to Proxima b?

23 Jun 2018 13:47

FastFourierTransform wrote:
This is getting quite off-topic PropulsionDisk. Maybe we should follow the discussion in the Science questions thread since how an electric circuit works is not the main issue to get to Proxima Centauri. Anyways I respond here one last time (let's migrate if you want to keep it going ok?).

Propulsion Disk wrote:
Source of the post But now that brings up other questions, how do you make electrons? is it with a "external electric source" and if so what is that?

How do you make electrons? Well first you have to create the universe. No, really. Electrons aren't created, they are fundamental particles that have been here since the birth of matter.

In the case of a circuit you don't bring electrons from an outside source (at least in principle), you just use the electrons embeded in the copper wire. There is no external electric source in terms if by that you mean an electron source. A typical circuit has external energy inputs like the one provided by the chemical reactions inside the battery to generate an electromotive force and other elements so that voltage is mantained. Electrons were on the wire even before the circuit itself was assembled, they were in the copper even before they copper was mined and extracted from the Earth's crust.

The important thing in electromechanics is how to get the voltage, the energy, the current, but not the electrons. You are looking at electric circuits as if they were a particle accelerator but they are not. You don't have a reservoir of electrons an shoot them through the wire, you have electrons in the wire, from start to end, and you play with potential energy to make them flow. You can see that in the videos I posted before (I know they are slow but this is well explained in my opinion).


midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post The water flow from a mountain analogy has some limitations, though.

This is also a very important point PropulsionDisk. Analogies are just that. They only get parts of the behaviour of a system and translate them to more common everyday systems so that we can use them as comprehension tools, but they are always limited. There are a lot of mechanical analogues for electricity and each of those has regions where they are usefull an regions where they become a source of wrong assumptions. If I told you that a snowman is an analogy of a real human being, then the anology could work for a certain field inside anatomy but it can't work as a medical model for example; a snowman has a "nose", has lateral symetry, has human size, has a head, a torso etc... so we could gain confidence with the analogy to the point we confuse it with the actual human and ask if human beings die slowly as the Sun evaporates them. No humans are not like that but it's true that humans have a head in analogy to the snowman. That is an abuse of the analogy and there you have a person who has forgotten that this is just an analogy and not the actual mathematical model that describes human beings.

The hydraulic analogy article in wikipedia has a section where they map the limitations of the analogy precisely. I've tried to use the analogy were it makes sense and there is a reciprocal for a concept in electricity, but keep that in mind PropulsionDisk, electricity has nothing to do with rivers in reality and your last question invites me to think you just abused the analogy. You don't need electrons coming from outside as water in a river because in electricity the electrons are there in the wire from beggining to end. Also you don't need the electrons to "flow from the top of the mountain" to the bottom to make the current complete the entire circuit end therefore make it work. In reality electrons move at millimeters per hour speeds (extremely slow if you take into accountthat electricity is a close-to speed of light influence) but they are able to light a bulb a thousand kilometers away just in a fraction of a second, because the electric signal is carried by the electric field under the voltage applied (different electrons located across the entire wire respond to that field) and it is not carried by the electrons that are in one end of the wire moving to the other end (in fact electrons flow in the opposite direction of current making it weirder). It's strange I know. But that's how it works. No water analogy will ever describe in full detail and coherence the real behaviour of electricity and that's the reason electricity is an entirely separate phenomena in nature and not the same as a "fluid substance that behaves weird", which was an actual hypothesis back in the good old days and is now regarded as pseudoscience.

Oh! I get it now! Thanks FFT! (PS) Don't be surprised if I say something like this again in "science and astronomy questions". :lol:
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