VELOCITY LIMITS OF ATOMIC BODIES
IN OUR REGION OF THE EPOLA SPACE,
AND THE UNREACHABILITY OF YET THE PROXIMA STAR
1. Belief in the Proportionality of Velocities to Driving Powers.
We usually ignore the existence of velocity limits and deeply believe that increasing the
driving power will increase velocity. Aristotle expressed this belief in his Mechanics
and "proved it" just by stating that
"Obviously, four horses shall move a carriage four times faster than one horse".
This statement, call it The Four Horse Rule, survived in science until the Newton era,
but seems right to people and to many a scientist even now.
Nowadays the Four Horse Rule appears in sayings that a thousand horse-power engine will move
a car or boat hundred times faster than a ten horse-power engine. This is wrong, as can be shown
by considering factors that limit the velocities of such vehicles. Nevertheless, this rule can
be artificially supported by the formula P=Fv, in which the power P is equal to
the force F multiplied by the velocity v.
There is no infallability nor magic in this or any other formula. A formula is just a short-hand
notation of a wordy rule. However the formula does not show the applicability limits of the rule
nor the limitations of the physical magnitudes involved. Thus, if one is enchanted by the
"beauty in one's formula" (as was the great P.A.M.Dirac) and ignores the limiting
"wordiness" behind it, then the outcome will probably have little to do with reality.
In reality, there are velocity limits to us, to each animal species, to each kind of
vehicle, and to each propulsor, under any given conditions. The speed limit of our sprinters is
10 m/sec, or 36 km/h (for no longer than 10 to 20 seconds). The speed limit of a horse on a
good track is about 15 m/s or ~54 km/h. Thus, if one horse moves a very light chariot with a
velocity close to the limit, then the addition of any number of equally good horses does not
increase the velocity of the chariot at all! And, if one horse cannot move a heavy carriage
(velocity is zero) and four horses can, then they move the carriage not four times but
2. Observed Velocities of Extended Atomic Bodies in Space.
The highest velocity of a planet is the 50 km/s velocity of Mercury in the closest to sun segment
(perihelion) of its orbit. The Halley comet in its last appearance reached (at perihelion)
the velocity of 60 km/s, and the Voyager spacecraft approached 70 km/s. These are still the
highest measured speeds of extended atomic bodies in the solar system. Hence, velocities of
extended bodies of atomic matter everywhere in the solar system,
relative to their surrounding space are below 100 km/s (=360,000 km/hour).
The velocities of most stars in our galaxial region are within this limit. If the
velocity of a star relative to us exceeds this limit (and it is not a nuclear star!),
then the galaxial region of this star is most probably moving relative to our galaxial region
(due, e.g., to rotations in the galaxy). The velocity of the star relative to its
galaxial region remains within the 100 km/s limit, if the epola temperature and the other
conditions in that region do not differ much from the 3K temperature and the according other
conditions in our region. The excess velocity is that of the star's galaxial region relative to
The existence of this limit is one of the proofs that space is not empty. Similarly, a gym or playground, in which there are no people and no things, is empty to us, in spite of the tons of air present there. When we walk there or jog, the air resistance is indetectible. But when we try to break the sprinting record of 10 m/s, the air resistance becomes a limiting factor, especially at windy times. In vehicles moving at very high speeds the air resistance may prevent any increase of velocity.
3. The Epola Structure of Our Space.
All observed phenomena of quantum physics and relativity are physically explained by assuming
that space contains electrons and positrons, elastically bound to one another in a rare cubic
lattice, the epola. The
equilibrium distance between a bound electron and a nearest bound positron is
4.4 femtometer (4.4 fm), fifty times their radii. This distance is four times
the radius of a proton or neutron, and equal to the radius of the nucleus of the
atom of copper. Atomic bodies can thus move in the epola space, sweeping the
nuclei and orbiting electrons of their atoms through the "giving in" distances
between the elastically bound epola particles (see article 1
The Unit Cube of the Epola. Tiny light and dark circles represent positrons and electrons;
99.9% of the area is open for passage of nuclear particles. For comparison, the central circle
shows the size of a proton or neutron, of radius 1.1 fermi.
An epola unit cube expands when entered by the nucleus or by an electron of the moving atom, and
contracts when left by it. This causes the epola particles to vibrate, creating in the epola an
elastic electro-magnetic (EM) "accompanying wave"(AW) to the motion of the particle. The
AW propagates with the speed of light in a narrow channel ahead of the moving nucleus or
electron, pre-forming the epola for the motion in this "wave-guide-like" channel. Thus,
when a constituent nuclear particle of the moving atom approaches an epola unit cube in the
channel, the unit is appropriately expanded to let the particle in, so that the moving particle
does not have to push epola particles apart "with its own body". Hence, there is no epola
resistance to the established motion of the atomic body, except for the
inertial resistance of the epola during the creation of the AW or during any
changes in the motion, that require appropriate changes in the AW.
To effectively pre-form the epola for the motion of a nuclear particle, its accompanying epola
wave must have sufficient time, hence the velocity of the particle must be adequately lower than
the velocity of the AW, that is the speed of light c. To effectively pre-form the epola
for the motions of all constituing nuclear particles of all atoms of a moving atomic body,
the accompanying waves of each and all these particles must have additional time to adjust to
and cohere with each other. From the existence of the observed velocity limits we may
conclude that at velocities up to 100 km/s, extended atomic bodies are able to adjust themselves
and the epola space in and around them to the motion, so that the resistance of
space is indetectible (except in the inertial resistance to any changes in the motion).
Above this limit, adjustment is impeded, and the resistance of space to motion in it may reduce
the velocity down to the limit.
4. Velocity Limits of a Single Hydrogen (H) Atom in the Epola Space.The hydrogen atom is the simplest; its nucleus is a proton (radius 1.1 fm, mass 1840 me) and its single electron (radius ~0.09 fm, a twelfth of the proton radius) orbits around the nucleus at a distance of 53,000 fm, fifty thousand times the radius of the nucleus. This distance of 53,000 femtometers (1 fm = 10-15 m, a quadrillionth of a meter) is also considered as the radius of the H atom, and the perimeter of the H atom is the 333,000 fm length of the orbit.
The orbital velocity of the electron is 2,200 km/s, 137 times lower than the speed of
light c, so that the orbital frequency of the electron is 6.6*1015 Hz, 6.6 quadrillion hertz or
6.6 million gigahertz. At this velocity, the kinetic energy of the electron (actually,
the inertial energy of the orbital electron and of its accompanying
"de Broglie" wave!) is equal to and balances the 13.6 eV energy of electrostatic
attraction of the electron to the nucleus. Supplying this energy to the electron may tear it off
(or free it from) the atom; hence 13.6 eV is the ionization energy of the atom
(though in this specific case the remnant of the atom is not a positive ion but a proton).
The wavelength of the accompanying wave (AW) in this "ground state" of the atom is
equal to 333,000 fm, the length of the orbit. The velocity of the AW is the velocity of light c,
so that the frequency of the AW is 137 times the orbital frequency of the electron. This
satisfies the physically derived and explainable conditions of stability, as well
as the quantization of atomic orbits in the epola (See the Paperback , the
Book, or the Booklet).
When the single H atom moves in the epola, a corresponding AW is propagating ahead of the moving
proton, and an appropriate AW is added to the orbital AW of the electron. As long as the velocity
v of the atom is sufficiently smaller than the orbital velocity of the electron, the additional
AW does not cause any drastic adjustments to the orbit, to the orbital AW and to the atom. When
the single H atom is accelerated to velocities close to and above the orbital velocity of the
electron (which is very hard to achieve, see Section 3) serious disturbances may occur to the
orbit, causing various stages of atomic excitation, up to ionization that turns
the H atom into just a proton. We may thus conclude that the velocity limit for the motion of
proper single atoms of hydrogen in our epola space is 2200 km/s, c/137.
5. Velocity Limits of Single Atoms and Ions Heavier than Hydrogen. The
first ionization energy of atoms heavier
than hydrogen, i.e., the energy of freeing the outermost orbital electron off
the atom, thus of turning the atom into a monovalent positive ion, is below the
13.6 eV ionization energy of the H atom, usually the lower the heavier the atom.
Without getting into the particular velocities and energies of the outermost
electrons of each atom in the Table of Elements, we may consider a 10 eV binding
energy of the outermost electrons of the most common single atoms in our
environment, and a 2000 km/s as their velocity limit.
The second ionization energy of the atom is significantly higher than the first one, so that the monovalent ion may have a significantly higher velocity limit than the neutral atom. It is also much easier and simpler to accelerate an ion than a neutral atom. However acceleration of the heavy ion with the tens of its orbital electrons, thus tens of AW's of these electrons, requires constant increases of energy pumped into the additional tens of AW's, corresponding to the instantaneous velocities of the ion, that are added to the previous AW's, and one to the AW of the complex atomic nucleus. All these have to be adjusted to one another and to the changing orbital quantization and stability conditions of the atom/ion. All these adjustments take time, raising the additional inertial resistance and enforcing lower velocity limits. Calculation of those velocity limits may present a new challenge for interested mathematicians.
6. The 100 km/s Velocity Limit of Travel and the Unreachability of Stars. A hidden use of the Four Horse Rule is in extrapolating our ability of traveling to the moon, possibly also within the solar system, upon inter-stellar and even intergalaxial travel. People neglect the observed 100 km/s velocity limit of extended atomic bodies in space, and this includes the NASA people too.
In this years American Physical Society's newsletter ("APS News") appeared an interview with a
NASA official who spoke about their new tasks. One of those was to increase the speeds of
spacecrafts to a humble 0.1c, one tenth only of the speed of light. On the other hand, this means
an increase to 30,000 km/s, fourty times above the achieved velocity of the Voyager. That is not
humble at all. And, if one recalls that the binding energy of the outermost electrons in atoms is
~10 eV (electron volt) and their orbital velocity is ~2000 km/s, then he might worry that shaking
the atoms up to a 15 times higher velocities may shake out of them quite a few of those electrons.
Should NASA be interested in what such a wide ionization by too fast a motion might do to the
electronics in all gadgets there, to molecular bonds, to the stability of the materials and to,
etc.,etc., then I might humbly suggest that they should not ask science writers nor various Big
Bang "Wizards of Time and Space" and "Makers of Universes" whose galaxies run away with velocities
of 1000c, "as seen on TV", and who are able to explain only the math they use in their "well
working" calculative results.
Another matter of concern might be the throughout heating of fast moving atomic bodies in
the epola. By a rough and simple thermodynamic calculation we found that atomic bodies moving in
our epola space with 100 km/s velocities might be heated throughout to 314K (~41C). Travel
at such velocities may thus be dangerous to humans. The manned Apollo Mission to Moon reached a
ten times lower velocity of 10 km/s (still about Mach30 in terms of supersonic travel) at which
the calculated heating (if any) was ignorable.
The 100 km/s velocity limit would allow us to reach the farthest Solar System planet
Pluto in two years. However the closest outer star is 7,000 times farther than
Pluto. Hence any stories of travel even to this Proxima star are fictions, more improbable than any ancient myth or fairy tale.
If you are interested to find out what the Epola model of space does and can do for the understanding of observed physical phenomena, I may recommend a close encounter with my book Invitation to the Natural Physics of Matter, Space, and Radiation, World Scientific Publishing Co, 1994, (292 pages, ISBN 981-02-1649-1, can be ordered from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble).
derivations can be found in my Paperback, The
Electron-Positron Lattice Space, Cause of Relativity and Quantum Effects
, Physics Section 5, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 1990 (158 pages).
The Paperback, as well as my popular Booklet, The Story
of Matter and Space , 1999 (70 pages) can be ordered from Robi Guttman
Write Your Comments in my Guestbook!
Dr. M. Simhony, 33 Shoham Street, 34679 Haifa, Israel
Fax: 972 4 825 1681. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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