Role of mass and quantum gravitational effects in friction?

In summary, the conversation discusses the role of mass quanta in the occurrence of friction between two surfaces in contact. The idea is proposed by a grad student, but it is acknowledged that there is no precise definition for "mass quanta". It is also noted that the question may not be well-defined and that gravitational effects at the atomic level are very weak compared to electrostatic interactions.
  • #1
IonReactor
8
1
TL;DR Summary
Friction. Quantum Gravity?
Friction is commonly thought to arise from the electromagnetic forces of the atoms at the boundary between two surfaces in contact. However it occurs to me that, in addition to charge quanta, there are also mass quanta present in this system and they could very well play a role.

Now, I'm just a grad student, this isn't my field, and I'm not proposing that I have a theory about quantum gravity that relates to friction. It's just a thought that I had and I would be very excited to hear the thoughts of anyone here who has some expertise or insight on this idea or who has thought about it before.
 
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  • #2
IonReactor said:
mass quanta

What do you mean by "mass quanta"?
 
  • #3
PeterDonis said:
What do you mean by "mass quanta"?
I don't have a precise definition. I realize my original post is incorrect because of this lack of precision and that it's entirely possible that "mass quanta" actually aren't present in this system.

What I really meant was that I was assuming that the mass of the atoms coupled to the small-scale of the system would create a fertile ground for quantum gravitational effects.
 
  • #4
IonReactor said:
I don't have a precise definition.

Then I don't see how we can have a useful discussion.

IonReactor said:
I realize my original post is incorrect because of this lack of precision and that it's entirely possible that "mass quanta" actually aren't present in this system.

Since you can't even define what you mean by "mass quanta", I don't see how the question is even well-defined. It is like asking if there are florbs present in the system. How would one even go about trying to answer?

IonReactor said:
What I really meant was that I was assuming that the mass of the atoms coupled to the small-scale of the system would create a fertile ground for quantum gravitational effects.

Then why go off into the weeds about "mass quanta"?

As far as quantum gravitational effects are concerned, gravity is really, really, really, really weak on the scale of atoms and molecules. You should be able to calculate, say, the gravitational interaction between two atoms at typical inter-atomic distances, and compare it to the electrostatic interaction between them. You will see that the difference is huge. And any quantum corrections to gravity at this scale would be even smaller.
 
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  • #5
The OP question, as clarified in post #3, has been answered. Thread closed.
 

Related to Role of mass and quantum gravitational effects in friction?

1. What is the role of mass in friction?

The role of mass in friction is to determine the amount of force required to overcome the resistance between two surfaces. The greater the mass of an object, the greater the force needed to move it against the frictional force.

2. How do quantum gravitational effects impact friction?

Quantum gravitational effects have a minimal impact on friction at the macroscopic level. However, at the nanoscale level, these effects can play a significant role in determining the strength and behavior of friction between surfaces.

3. Can friction be affected by changes in mass or gravity?

Yes, changes in mass or gravity can affect friction. A change in mass can alter the amount of force needed to overcome friction, while a change in gravity can impact the normal force between two surfaces, which in turn affects the frictional force.

4. What is the relationship between mass and friction?

The relationship between mass and friction is inverse. As the mass of an object increases, the force needed to overcome friction also increases. This is because a heavier object has a greater resistance to movement due to its increased inertia.

5. How does the behavior of friction differ at the quantum level compared to the macroscopic level?

At the quantum level, friction is influenced by quantum mechanical effects such as tunneling and van der Waals forces. These effects are not present at the macroscopic level, where friction is primarily determined by the surface roughness and normal force between two surfaces.

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