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Do Fundamental Particles Experience Heat?

  1. Apr 16, 2014 #1
    Heat is a product of excited energy states of the fundamental particles that make up atoms, correct?
    So do the particles, themselves, get "hot" - or is heat just experienced as radiation on the macroscopic scale?

    Do neutrons, for example, have a thermal property at all?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2014 #2
    yes, heat is a macroscopic definition of a change in energy (which can be produced by a particle moving to a less excited state). When you get to a small enough particle, we see heat as only a change in energy. Therefore, the neutrons would get excited, bounce around faster, and produce radiation, but they would not become "warmer".

    so, in essence, Heat is only a macroscopic quantity.
  4. Apr 16, 2014 #3
    Wouldn't any particle that was not at absolute zero have a temperature?
  5. Apr 17, 2014 #4


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    Fundamental particles do not have a temperature, as temperature is a measure of the internal energy of an object, which is the result of many random motions of its constituent particles. Fundamental particles are not made up of any other particles, so they don't have internal energy.
  6. Apr 17, 2014 #5
    If we divide a particle then we always get smaller particle because it would never become zero ?
  7. Apr 17, 2014 #6


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  8. Apr 17, 2014 #7
    Thanks UltrafastPED for increasing my knowledge.o:)
  9. Apr 17, 2014 #8


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    If you have a collection of neutrons, and have them all moving randomly ... then yes, you could define a temperature. This would be appropriate for a neutron star, or perhaps an excited nucleus.

    Or considering any collection of fundamental particles - then it is appropriate for the early times of the big bang - and is how many of the estimates are carried out.
  10. Apr 17, 2014 #9
    The first line on the wikipedia page is "In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle whose substructure is unknown, thus it is unknown whether it is composed of other particles."

    I can be not wrong :rofl:
  11. Apr 17, 2014 #10
    The second a sub structure is found the particle ceases to be considered elementary. Elementary particles are not composed of other particles, by definition. The electron is considered an elementary particle due to evidence and will only be considered non-fundamental if new evidence arises.
  12. Apr 17, 2014 #11
    Wikipedia pages on the topic of elementary particles, electroweak theory, Standard model, etc... are fairly poor.
  13. Apr 17, 2014 #12
    Worth pointing out that neutrons are not fundamental particles.
  14. Apr 19, 2014 #13
    If a fundamental particle change shape then it experience heat ?
    Fundamental particles also need energy [to maintain there body(structure)] and [exist] ?
  15. Apr 19, 2014 #14
    They dont have shape or structure. Not as far as researchers can tell. They are point particles. They occupy no, or an infinitesimal amount of volume.
  16. Apr 19, 2014 #15
    Means we do not know know their shape or structure ?

    Means they are sphere ?

    Means their volume is zero ?
  17. Apr 19, 2014 #16
    No. Comon... They have no shape or structure means they have no shape or structure. Of course new evidence could change that, but that is the case for all conclusions in science.

    No. A point is not a sphere.

    Yes. Or infinitesimal. Ill leave it to the experts to distinguish between those.
  18. Apr 21, 2014 #17
    What do you mean by point particles ?
    please to me sir. I am confused.
  19. Apr 21, 2014 #18


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    A "point particle" is a mathematical abstraction. It treats the particle as if it were a single point rather than having volume and taking up space.
  20. Apr 22, 2014 #19
    Thank you Hallsoflvy
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