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I Ponderomotive Force - What is it?

  1. Jun 21, 2017 #1
    Sometimes as I am reading about the history of physics I run across this phrase.
    Ponderomotive force. I have tried looking it up several times but can never find an answer that explains what is meant by this phrase. Can someone tell me in laymens terms what is a Ponderomotive Force? Sometimes people like Einstein, Lorentz and Maxwell use this phrase. Give me an example of what this force is and how it works. I am looking for the mechanical details of what it is.
    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2017 #2

    A.T.

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  4. Jun 21, 2017 #3
    Yes I have that article several times. I guess my question is, are they saying that this ponderomotive force is the cause of the motion of a particle?
     
  5. Jun 21, 2017 #4

    A.T.

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    Did you skip the introduction?
     
  6. Jun 21, 2017 #5
    No, I did not skip the beginning of the article. Its a small article and I read the beginning paragraphs several times. There is no Introduction it starts with the Derivation. I guess that is what you are referring to as the Introduction. I am looking for more of a metaphysical description. Maybe that article is as good as it gets.
     
  7. Jun 21, 2017 #6

    anorlunda

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    PF is not the place to go for metaphysics.
     
  8. Jun 21, 2017 #7

    Drakkith

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    I'm not quite sure what you're asking for. The wiki article linked by A.T. is a good description of the process. It's the average force felt by a particle in an oscillating, non-homogeneous electromagnetic field and the mechanical details are given in the article.

    What's your physics background? Have you taken any E&M classes yet?

    Metaphysics is philosophy, not science. Are you sure that's the word you meant to use?
     
  9. Jun 22, 2017 #8
    Yes, I meant to use that word. I am studying the nature of things, philosophically speaking. Okay and your brief description is good enough to confirm what I read and I now see the meaning of the phrase. It does not mean what I thought it meant. You summed it up better than the article by saying that its the average force felt by a particle in an oscillating field. It is a simple, clear definition that I was looking for. Thanks for the help.

    Actually with your simple straight forward definition in hand I went back and reread the article and the entire wiki article makes much more sense. I was able to get a lot more understanding of the meaning of Ponderomotive Force. Now when I read other articles that mention it, it won't be a mystery to me what they are talking about.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
  10. Jun 22, 2017 #9

    Drakkith

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    I can understand. I think the key areas of the article were:
    and
    It would be easy to get confused if you missed this last part or didn't make the connection, which is easy to do if you're approaching a new topic for the first time.
     
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