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How repulsion works?

  1. Jul 24, 2011 #1
    Hi, I am green to QED.

    I could not find any more detailed answer about more exact description of atoms' repel process, both on the forum and the internet. Let's say we have a swarm of water steam particles, hitting each other. Some will join and stay together to form larger droplets, but some will bounce off by their atoms' repulsion force.

    How the process of bounce works: How exactly maseless photons involved in the electromagnetic force cause this bounce?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2011 #2


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  4. Jul 24, 2011 #3
    thank you very much... After reading this very helpful text, I still don't understand some basic ideas. In example of water steam that I mentioned before:

    Are photon wavefunctions (that are responsible for repulsion forces) emitted by electron wavefunction of the repelling H2O atoms? Or these force carrying photons wavefunctions are already "in the field" emitted before by any other sources?
  5. Jul 24, 2011 #4


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    Hold on. Virtual particles are, arguably, simply mathematical constructs used to help visualize the math behind quantum mechanics. I THINK it is just as accurate to say that the fields themselves are doing the repelling and attracting and that the virtual particles are simply not real.
  6. Jul 24, 2011 #5
    Of course I understand that the idea of virtual particles are virtual behind it, but actually not the fields themselves do the job, but very specific field fluctuations do the job.

    I am aiming at visualization of the repelling process. Should I show photon field as a waves propagating in a particular way?
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