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Is it possible to turn vacuum energy into heat

  1. Nov 16, 2011 #1
    I'm doing a thermodynamics project on possible future energy sources. I've decided to try and find out if you can extract heat from vacuum energy. My initial hypothesis was that by placing to plates close together creates a magnetic attraction due to the casimir effect, which would create heat do to the magnetocaloric effect. I would think that you could build a rotary system off of this to create in essence free energy, but after running through the numbers, the amount of energy produced would be very small.

    My second thought would be by using two plasmas, you could have two sheets which collapse into each other, absorbing vacuum energy, producing extra heat. However, I'm looking for a system which dissipates heat directly into a working fluid.

    My third thought is that perhaps, cavitation and turbulence creates more vacuum energy which is in turn absorbed by the fluid. My thought is that the work required to expand and contract a fluid would completely turn to heat. The expansion would create vacuum energy, and the compression would absorb it. However, I am almost postive there is an equation which shows you lose energy in turbulance, and perhaps this is related to the energy required to expand a fluid to "create" vacuum energy.

    Any thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2011 #2
    Vacuum energy is the lowest level of the energy in the space. Heat is a flow of the photons between the higher and lower level of the energy. Therefore you can't take an energy from the lowest level of the energy.
    On the other hand if the rest mass particle is accelerated in the gravitational field (vacuum) it absorbes the energy from the vacuum due to Unruh effect. As a concequence is the change in the curvature of the space because of the absorbed vacuum.
  4. Nov 17, 2011 #3
    Thanks for the response, the unruh effect is exactly what I needed to show tempature difference from vacuum energy absorbtion. My biggest question now would be, does vacuum energy slow down the acceleration of the mass like friction? The wiki page describes an experiment to accelerate an electron so that it reaches 400,000 degrees K. Could this expirement produce more energy then put in to accelerate the electron?
  5. Nov 18, 2011 #4
    There is one hypothesis that the space is an illusion created as a hologram of a mathematical matrix. The vacuum energy is a relation between information (a matrix) and it is a perfect medium creating our geometry. The quantum information is perfectly conserved even during the billions years of journey. This vacuum behaves like all medium and its refractive index shows the curvature of the space as in General Relativity.

    There is also en effect like a friction. When you have a grains of a sand on the bottom of the glass of water and when it rotates it creates an image like a spiral galaxy.
    The density of the vacuum is distributed like a gravitational field and it causes the effect of the Dark Matter. The mass of the galaxy is not in its centre but as the vacuum is distributed inversely proportional to the distance from a centre of the galaxy. Therefore we observe a constant velocity of the stars on each distance from the centre of the galaxy.
  6. Nov 18, 2011 #5
    I have a similar theory in the sense that 3d space is an illusion. It would seem apperent to me that vacuum energy is not simply the by product of the energy of virtual particles, but constituated by virtual particles. The universe was formed by a fundamental virtual particle, and it is becuase of this that vacuum energy violates the conservation of energy. The reason we dont see this in the macro scale is the same reason de broglie wavelengths are very small in large objects.
  7. Nov 19, 2011 #6
    Not necessarily violates the conservation of the energy. It seems to be because of the non-locality. In hologram the relation is on a screen and we observe it far away in a space. Therefore the quantum energy appears in a situation we do not expect. The non-locality is obvious in the holographic space.
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