Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Writing: Input Wanted Is friction relative?

  1. May 15, 2017 #1
    So... I've been thinking in time manipulation "super powers" for at least three years. First i just thought "well, you have to drain time from things, don't you?" then i learnt basic physics and i thought "well... that was kind of unrealistic, one actually should accelerate to a % of the speed of c(Speed of light*...[causality**]) right?". Of course, i learnt more physics and understood "Friction is making everything go wild and unleashing nuclear fusion world destructive stuff.... apart from making you blind, deft and incapable of moving... I don't want friction to do that" but yesterday... As I was having a bath I thought... What if one could decelerate everything else? I think everything would cool down dramatically as a consecuence and lots of energy would be released at the same time but for that i don't care as my character has the capability to channel energy far away in the sky resulting in some amazing fireworks (blasts of light). So yes... I want it to be as realistic as it benefits me. And believe it or not, the sky blasts fit perfectly.

    In the end, what i need to know is whether decelerating everyone and most likely everything (air, bullets, arrows, raindrops, whatever) and moving at normal speed would produce the same amount of heat from friction as going extremely fast. Also if air or any other fluids would make for a wall of particles incapable of moving out of your way. For extra data:
    This works in a radial way, like a sphere centred at my character. The things really near (to a hundred meters or so) would be slowed down as to seem fully stopped in time. A few hundred meters or so would mean being at least being 90% slowed down, a thousand 80% an so on, but every time the slow down reduces less with distance, meaning that a the other side of the earth you would't notice anything is different if you looked to the horizon for example. As I write this I realise there is a lot more energy in place than I thought, but the god who draws this energy from other dimensions may as well deal with it (kind of the speed force that flash uses to go too fast for physics).

    Thanks to whoever takes the time to read this. If you need any more info or details i'll be checking the post every few days.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2017 #2
    Can you offer us some more information on the story you are writing?
  4. May 17, 2017 #3
    It's an epic fantasy setting in which some people are given the favour of the deity's that once ruled the world. This character is the "Champion" of a deity of time, which confers him a both great and flawed power to manipulate time. As this "gods" are able to channel practically unlimited amount of energy into the mortal world, the champions may break most of the laws of physics, but some things i just can't ignore. So i need to know if there is anyway of dealing with the massive friction problem in the slow/stop time power.
  5. May 20, 2017 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've once read a novel which included a similar conceit (A.Wisniewski-Snerg: Robot - don't worry, it's never been translated into English, as far as I know, so the niche is up for grabs). In it, the protagonist could cross into a kind of parallel world, where time would pass slower. The effects that I remember the author considering:
    - light shifts into longer wavelengths, so you can't see anything, unless it was originally higher-wavelength radiation (in the story - nuclear reactor compartment was glowing brightly in an otherwise dark world, but the details depend on how much you slow the time down). If you bring a source of light with you, and assuming that it 'exists' in your time frame, then you'll be able to see, but you'll be giving everyone you shine it on some radiation doses.
    - air molecules are slowed down, so that you can't breathe if you haven't brought an apparatus with you. Even if your superpower switches the air that passes into your mouth back into normal time frame, you'd still need to move around and 'gasp' for new air, as it would not so readily flow to replace the missing bit. Similarly, exhaling is hard, as you have to push away the viscous air. Moving is exhausting, as you need to swim in this soup of slowed down air particles. Imagine swimming in mercury (depending on how much you slow the time down, of course). You displace a lot of air as you move, causing shockwaves to appear in your wake (probably just loud sound).
    - everything offers a lot of resistance, but is very fragile. To lift a beach ball without breaking it, or to push a man without hurting him, you'd have to stand there and apply low force for a while, so that in their time frame it'd add to regular force (e.g. in order to get the same 'felt' force of a punch in a 1000 times slower time frame, you'd need to make it last 1000 times longer with 1/1000th applied force). Grabbing somebody's arm and pulling normally would result in high resistance, as you fight their-world inertia, but you'd rip it off easily, in slow-motion.

    Your idea of making time slow down in a gradual fashion makes it somewhat more problematic, as I wonder what would happen to people and machines caught in the gradient. Maybe nothing, if the superpower diminishes gradually enough.
  6. May 20, 2017 #5
    So... Basically i have the same problems i had when i thought of accelerating the user... Well, thanks a lot for the source and input, that totally answered my question, friction and all the other forces involved would affect everything as if the user was accelerated even if everything else is actually slowed down... I'll have to keep thinking in a way of successfully manipulating time without making it imposible or boring(too complex actually).
  7. May 21, 2017 #6
    A bullet is traveling through the air. Your power slows down the bullet, and also slows down the air's ability to move out of the bullet's way. The effect would be like trying to shoot underwater - the bullet would just stop and then fall to the ground. This, and many other things would be nothing like having your hero accelerated.

    If you want something like the flash, you could have your hero shift into a fourth spatial dimension where he can still interact with photons, but not atoms or gravity. Then he can run through objects while holding his breath, and see where he is going, and accelerate time without causing sonic booms. But he would have to re-enter normal space in order to touch anything, and he can't re enter if solid objects can't be pushed out of the way.
  8. May 21, 2017 #7
    Wow, really good idea, though there is only on problem... re-entering normal space would cause air molecules or whatever the user is super positioning with to be... well, that, superpositioning over each other, or at least being displaced at extraordinary velocities. But this whole "travelling between dimensions" that you both told me is really useful input. (there is also the void created while going to the other dimension)

    I think the best way to deal with this would be replacing the user's volume with the air or whatever fluid he is over-positioning at the end of the travelling. Like, in this other universe, he wouldn't only be accelerated to a percentage of c. He would be interacting at c speed, like, 0 time going on, just like a way to teleport or take your time to make a choise. A fully stopped time world in which every action taken is simultaneous and atemporal. This matches with an idea I had a long time ago but i never imagined the "other dimension" stuff, it fixes the problem I had with accelerating, as this dimensional shift isn't necessarily "acceleration" related. Thanks a lot for the input!!! it was really helpful!!! Thanks again
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted