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A Comparative Study of Electromagnetic and Gravitational Fields

A Comparative Study of Electromagnetic and Gravitational Fields

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Published by: steveshires on May 26, 2010
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1
 A comparative study of electromagnetic and gravitational fields
In recent decades, much attention has been devoted to electromagnetic andgravitational field unification, first attempted by Faraday, without success, in 1849.Mathematical models devoted to the achievement of this unification invariablyfounder on problems related to the relative strengths of the forces involved, withoutdiscovering a way around this conceptual barrier. It may be that responsibility for thissituation lies in the seductive similarities between the laws governing electromagneticand gravitational forces and potentials where only static sources are considered. Itmay be that accelerated sources represent a more practical starting point for theunification process. The Equivalence Principle underpins the Theory of GeneralRelativity and Special Relativity but stands apart from both. Special Relativity dealswith unaccelerated frames of reference, General Relativity with scenarios in whichacceleration has been transformed away with the action of gravity, as a force (forceimplies acceleration of mass, acceleration implies force is acting on mass) but theEquivalence Principle presupposes the equivalence of all accelerations and is of primeimportance to relativity. There has been little incentive to test the equivalence of theacceleration of mass in general, associated with the concept of inertia and leading tothe definition of inertial mass via Newton’s Second Law of Motion, and theacceleration of mass by the gravitational force. The standard tests involve onlyotherwise static masses in free fall, not masses already accelerating in one, two, threeor more dimensions (after all, the current paradigm favours ten dimensions) prior to,or simultaneous with, acceleration by gravity.Perhaps the foregoing is forgivable. After all, the gravitational force between twostatic masses is notoriously difficult to measure compared with the electric force between static charges so it is hardly surprising that the equations for acceleratedstates were discovered much later than those for the unaccelerated ones. Starting withthe case of two charged masses, ‘m
1
‘ and ‘m
2
‘, separated by a small distance ‘r’, and proceeding to consider the same masses in an uncharged condition uncharged, therelevant equations are: -Coulomb’s Law Newton’s Law1(a) F
e
= k q
1
q
2
1(b) F
g
= G m
1
m
2 
2
2 
where k = 1 .4 π ε
0
 k is the electric constant, G the Newtonian constant of gravitation.
 
2
r
m
1
m
2
α
s
= the distance, at closest approach, of m
2
to
 
m
1
a s r
= the distance between m
1
and m
2
for the purpose of calculating F
e
and F
g
α = the angle between the acceleration anddistance vectors,
a
and
r
 Figure 1Where ‘r’ is small and there is a low relative velocity between the masses, even whenassociated with relative acceleration, the situation reduces mathematically to the staticone. The case is quite otherwise where ‘r’ is large: -2(a) F
e
= k q
1
q
2
a sinα 2(b) F
g
= G m
1
m
2
a sinαc
2
 
c
2
Although the two forces bear the same relationship to one another with regards totheir relative strengths, the adjustment of both of them by the factor c
-2
clearly presents a considerable experimental challenge when it comes to measuring the forcesinvolved.There is, of course, more than one type of acceleration to be considered. Rotationalways involves centripetal acceleration. As G. Nordström’s letter to Einstein (1912)suggested and Einstein himself confirmed, Special Relativity (SR) must be taken intoaccount where an extended spinning mass is involved. Although acceleration isinvariably associated with General Relativity (GR), due to the importance of theEquivalence Principle (EQ) to the latter, the accelerated point mass on the edge of anextended mass, spinning with constant velocity, is evidently in a different frame of reference from the one at the centre of gyration and this has implications for thevalidity of the EQ, deriving from the application of SR to the situation. This becameknown as the Nordström Theory.Professor Alex Harvey submitted an analysis of one example of the problem to‘Annals of Physics’ in 1964. He was able to show that, due to the Lorentz-Fitzgeraldtime dilation, the time measured at the centre of a spinning dumbbell would onlymatch that measured at either end of it in terms of their proper times, i.e. the timesmeasured at those points. The time at either end of the dumbbell as measured from thecentre, or coordinate time, appears to be dilated. This scenario involves a conflict withthe Equivalence Principle (EP), according to which the inertial mass of an object,such as a ball at one end of a spinning dumbbell, treated as a point mass, would fall atthe same rate as one at the centre of gyration. However, he was able to show that, on paper at least, the Nordström Theory applied and therefore the time of fall asmeasured at each point on the dumbbell (the ‘proper time’ for each point’s frame of reference) might be the same, but the time of fall for a point mass on the ball asmeasured at the centre of gyration (the ‘coordinate time’) would be greater. To put itanother way, the point mass on the ball would be subject, effectively, to a lower gravitational acceleration when the dumbbell was rotating than when it was not.
 
3Professor Harvey drew a distinction between what he termed the ‘weak’ EP, inwhich all inertial and gravitational masses are equivalent, regardless of whether theyare point or extended masses and of the relative motions of different parts of theextended masses, and the ‘strong’ EP. According to the latter principle, Einstein’sown, only point masses are mutually equivalent with respect to inertia and gravity.The matter can only be resolved by designing practical tests of Prof. Harvey’stheoretical analysis of the Nordström Theory. This is because, unfortunately, therelativistic aspects of the dumbbell experiment render it impractically difficult toimplement with any hope of obtaining observable results.Before proceeding to a consideration of the effects of accelerated charges andmasses upon one another, it is worthwhile examining the similarities between theequations relating the electric and gravitational potentials to their sources. Theequation for the electrostatic field, Gauss’ Law, also the first of Maxwell’s Equations(Maxwell I) is, in its differential form, known as Poisson’s Equation: -3(a)
2
V =
4πρ
e
(Gaussian units)Or 
2
V =
ρ
e
/ε (SI units),where V is the electric potential and ρ
e
the electric charge density.The equation for the gravitostatic case is: -(b)
2
Φ = 4πGρ
m-e,
where Φ is the Newtonian gravitational potential and ρ
m-e
the mass-energy density or,as it is sometimes termed, the mass charge density.These equations reveal the functional equivalence of the constants of proportionalityinvolved, namely, ε, the electric permittivity and G, the Newtonian gravitationalconstant. Equation 3(a) is clearly more suggestive in Gaussian units andsuggestiveness is always at a premium among unification theorists, but the SI unitsversion is more important because of those units’ role in the unity of physics.Turning to the case of accelerated charge and the lesser known consequences of accelerated mass, these are seen to involve radiation with a power output that dependson the principle distinguishing factors of the force equations referred to here as 1(a)and 1(b): -The Larmor ’luminosity’/ power radiated by accelerated charge ‘q’: -4(a) L
e-m
= 2 k q
2
a
2
,3 c
3
where a = the acceleration of ‘q’and k = 1/4πε4

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