Analogy of casimir effect with moving boats

In summary, during lunch, a friend mentioned that two boats running parallel to each other can be attracted by an effect similar to the Casimir effect due to quantized water waves. She also mentioned that this is something to consider when sailing side by side. This possible force may be more related to the Bernoulli effect from wind or current between the boats. A quick online search suggests that this may not actually be a real phenomenon. The Casimir effect, which occurs due to fluctuating electric and magnetic fields in the vacuum, can cause a change in energy when scatterers are placed in the vacuum, resulting in a force when the scatterers are shifted.
  • #1
meichenl
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During lunch today a friend told me that two boats running parallel to one another can be attracted to each other by an effect similar to the Casimir effect. The water waves between the boats are quantized, and there winds up being slightly less pressure from between the boats than from outside. She indicated this was an observable thing - something you actually have to take into consideration if you ever have two boats sailing side by side.

Has anybody heard of this, know a name for it, can give a good reference of where to learn more about the effect, or have any comments on the physics?
 
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  • #2
meichenl said:
During lunch today a friend told me that two boats running parallel to one another can be attracted to each other by an effect similar to the Casimir effect. The water waves between the boats are quantized, and there winds up being slightly less pressure from between the boats than from outside. She indicated this was an observable thing - something you actually have to take into consideration if you ever have two boats sailing side by side.

Has anybody heard of this, know a name for it, can give a good reference of where to learn more about the effect, or have any comments on the physics?

*If* there exists such a "force", which I have not heard of previously, I would expect that it is more due to the Bernoulli effect from the wind/current being forced between the boats than to any Casimir effect analog having to do with the waves.

In any case, a quick google search reveals that this is probably all nonsense anyway:

http://www.sciencebase.com/science-blog/casimir-effect-shipping.html
 
  • #3
Whether or not such effects are actually observed at sea, the description is close to what happens. The Casimir effect occurs because the vacuum state has fluctuating electric and magnetic fields. This gives rise to a vacuum energy (which is infinite but actually it could be zero in our case because forces deal with the change in energy, so we can renormalize it at will and not change the results). Placing scatterers into the vacuum changes the allowable modes for the fluctuating fields. This in turn changes the energy of the vacuum. If we were to infinitesimally shift one of the scatterers, it would in turn infinitesimally shift the vacuum energy. This change in energy due to a displacement is the Casimir force.
 

1. What is the Casimir effect and how does it relate to moving boats?

The Casimir effect is a phenomenon in quantum physics where two uncharged conducting plates placed close together experience an attractive force due to the fluctuations of virtual particles in the vacuum. This can be compared to two moving boats experiencing an attractive force due to the waves created by their motion.

2. Why is the analogy of the Casimir effect and moving boats important in understanding the concept?

The analogy helps to illustrate the concept of virtual particles and their influence on objects in the vacuum. It also provides a relatable example that can aid in understanding the complex phenomenon of the Casimir effect.

3. Can the analogy of the Casimir effect and moving boats be applied to other situations?

Yes, the analogy can be applied to other situations involving objects in motion in a fluid medium. For example, it can be used to explain the behavior of particles in a fluid, or the interaction between two planets in space.

4. Is the Casimir effect and the analogy with moving boats a proven concept?

Yes, the Casimir effect has been experimentally observed and verified. The analogy with moving boats is a simplified representation of the phenomenon and is commonly used in teaching and explaining the concept.

5. Are there any real-world applications of the Casimir effect and the analogy with moving boats?

While the Casimir effect itself has not yet been utilized in practical applications, the concept of virtual particles and their effects is important in understanding various phenomena in quantum physics. The analogy with moving boats can also aid in understanding other fluid dynamics and wave-related phenomena.

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