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A thermal expansion coefficient of spacetime?

  1. Mar 3, 2014 #1
    Are there any theories or thoughts that view spacetime as 'having' a coefficient of thermal expansion... analogous to the CTE of water? An inflection with density in regards to temperature?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2014 #2
    Well, since nobody knows what the cosmological constant actually is physically, such as maybe
    dark energy, or not, who knows? Energy density, maybe; heat, not so much as far I can see.

    If heat is transfrerred via conduction, convection and radiation, you'd need a mechanism that associates those kind of changes with varying cosmological expansion rates. But cosmological expansion doesn't seem well described temperature. Not only is the universe currently the coolest it has ever been, around 2.7 degrees C these days, expansion is currently accelerating as the universe continues to cool. And it expanded superluminally when it was really, really hot and cooling. So what expands superluminally when hot and cold and continues as it approaches absolute zero?
  4. Mar 3, 2014 #3
  5. Mar 3, 2014 #4
    Density and pressure seem not 'in general' linearly/proportional to temperature, like an ideal gas.
  6. Mar 3, 2014 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    No. How would you measure such a thing?
  7. Mar 7, 2014 #6
    Same way as you'd measure the expansion/contraction of the universe, only assuming spacetime is an actual thing.
  8. Mar 7, 2014 #7


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    I see no reason to treat 'space' as possessing any ponderable properties [to borrow from Einstein]. It does appear, however, it can be treated as a field. Does that constitute a 'property'? That is unclear to me.
  9. Mar 8, 2014 #8
    I can understand how 'space' itself doesn't have any ponderable properties, but spacetime, I think even Einstein came to think of 'it' as a thing.
  10. Mar 8, 2014 #9
    Maybe our ideas of space and time, or spacetime are so far myopic. Carlo Rovelli describes some discordances:

  11. Mar 9, 2014 #10
    Is there any definition for a temperature of the 'vacuum' of spacetime?
  12. Mar 9, 2014 #11
    I guess for some "parts' it would be the Hawking Temperature.

    What's the Planck Temperature really mean?
  13. Mar 9, 2014 #12

    Vanadium 50

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    Ryan, I'm afraid that none of what you are writing makes any sense at all. I was trying to nudge you in a more scientific direction by asking how this is measured. But the idea of an expansion of a space of fixed volume does not make sense - it either has fixed volume or it does not. The idea of a temperature of an empty volume of space does not make sense either.

    If you can't describe how one would go about measuring it, it's not science.
  14. Mar 9, 2014 #13
    Yeah, data are by the things you measure. But to call anything other than data to be 'non-scientific'; not science, I disagree.
  15. Mar 11, 2014 #14
    So empty spacetime can have a field (like the Higgs), contains dark energy, and transmits EM radiation and gravity, but the idea of temperature is undefined? I'm just trying to wrap my brain around that:)
  16. Mar 12, 2014 #15
    The average temperature of the universe is definable. To define such changes per the era your calculating the average temperature. These calculations use variations of the ideal gas laws. Those laws involve the volume, density, number of particle species (ie photons,neutrinos etc), the interactions of those particles etc.

    However in all calculations the temperature drops as a result of a change in volume. Regardless of which time period your discussing. The exception to that rule is if new interactions occur from new particles coming into measurable existance. Oft termed az freezing into existance in some high energy particle physics textbooks
  17. Mar 21, 2014 #16
    Does the idea of 'absolute hot' make sense?
  18. Mar 21, 2014 #17

    Vanadium 50

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    Ryan, you're hijacking your own thread here. And no it doesn't.
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