# B Casimir Effect as a power source

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1. Jul 28, 2016

### Benplace

Would it be possible to create energy or a power source using plates that are connected in a way that when two plates are close enough the casimir effect would pull them together while also pulling two other plates apart which in turn would create a casimir effect and pulling those plates together while pulling the other plates apart again?

2. Jul 28, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

No. It is a conservative force, bringing plates together releases as much energy as pulling them apart needs, energy is conserved. This is an exact result in all underlying theories.

3. Jul 28, 2016

### Benplace

But because of the Casimir effect you are not exerting/consuming any energy, correct?

4. Jul 28, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

The situation is exactly as with gravity, just for shorter distances: you can gain energy from lowering some mass (bringing it closer to Earth). But you have to spend the same energy to lift it back up (separate it) if you want to repeat this.

The Casimir effect is a conservative force exactly as many others. No magic involved.

5. Jul 28, 2016

### Benplace

Imagine two flat metal plates connected in the center of each one with a pipe in the middle, then having multiples of these close enough that the Casimir effect when pulling them together, on the other end the same effect would pull them together as well while pulling the other end apart. Unlike gravity where you would have to come up with a way to lift the object

6. Jul 28, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

It doesn't matter how complicated you want to make the setup - try to understand the general concept, then you can save time on overcomplicating things. Energy is conserved exactly, every "pulling apart" needs as much energy as "letting them get closer" releases.

7. Jul 28, 2016

### Benplace

So you are saying, that while the plates would move back and forth, there is no way to extract any energy from them?

8. Jul 28, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Not if the plates are supposed to return to their initial state at some point.

You can extract a tiny bit of energy once, by moving them all together. But then you are done.

9. Jul 28, 2016

### sophiecentaur

Correct. A fundamental fact of Physics.

10. Jul 28, 2016

Staff Emeritus
It's also exactly the same as a set of springs. You can construct them so they are stretched, and gain energy when they spring back. Once.

11. Jul 29, 2016