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Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Speed of Second Sound

While climate change junkies quibble over which theory is the most fun to bash or support, I keep thinking no one has proposed a method that can even come close to ending the controversies. This has lead me to what is either outside the box creative problems solving or the nut house. Maybe a little of both. Relativistic Heat Conduction, RHC, is the part most people think is nuts.

One of the controversies of RHC is the speed of second sound. The limit on the rate of Phonon flow in a media. The Phonon is a hybrid, thermal quantum stuck between being a photon or an electron only a little on the slow side. So RHC modified their heat equations to include a C squared term, just like the big boy relativity equation with the little c squared term where the little c is the speed of light.

Photons and phonons are different in that photons are accepted as being real, though theoretically difficult to describe and photons are just plain theoretical, but their existence would simplify things.

Real or not, a quantum of thermal energy is something that can be useful. The speed limit for that quantum in a media would be nice to know. The momentum of that theoretical quantum limited by some characteristic of its media would also be nice to know. With some standard for the phonon flow characteristics, derived from basic thermodynamics, we have something that could be directly compared to the real photons.

Real photons leaving the Earth would love to travel at the speed of light, but they can't, even if they are not absorbed by gas, liquid or solid molecules. When they are absorbed, that is a rather dramatic change in velocity. Since a photon has no mass, only momentum in its particle disguise, there is an assumption that absorption energy lost to the molecule is very small with respect to the energy of the photon. With high energy photons, reflection is assumed to be perfectly elastic. It is after all, very small with respect to the energy we can measure.

Low energy photons, are more likely absorbed than reflected. Since energy and mass are related, the massless low energy photon has less masslessness than a high energy photon. The low energy photon's velocity from the surface to space is reduced by a fraction of a second because of the refraction, absorption, emission and collisional transfer of its changing energy and degree of masslessness.

At some point, the theoretical masslessness of the real photon is likely to approach the finite speed of second sound limit of the theoretical quantum called the phonon.

Now here is the fun part, the finite speed of second sound is controlled by the density of the media which is influenced by gravity that has its own theoretical quantum called a graviton. Now wouldn't it be a pip if the low energy photon, phonon and graviton all converge on an energy and degree of masslessness that was finite?

That might even explain some of the other weirdness in the universe. Like solar wind particles getting a boost from a theoretical nearly massless quantum of energy which would produce a higher velocity with one relative impact and a lower but still high enough for escape velocity from another relative impact.

All of this is of course just musings. I do though think it would be fun to build a model based on the Kimoto equation and RHC to see where it might lead. After all, we have a crap load of data, why not have fun with it :)

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