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Variable mass for strange matter?

  1. Aug 9, 2010 #1
    The following question, although probably sounding inappropriate for this forum, is actually very important to me. The easy answer to the question is, “It can’t be done.” But a great deal of learning and increased understanding could be gained if the answer were, “It could be done if...” followed by, “but that if can’t happen because...”

    Even if an answer is “no”, followed by a reason, that answer is still valuable.


    If it were possible to alter the mass of a clump of positively charged iron or nickel strange matter (at zero pressure and at room temperature), how could that be done?

    Thought: Are there any properties of stable, positively-charged strange matter that lends itself to having its mass altered that regular matter does not possess?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2010 #2


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    What do you have in mind by "alter"? You can always change mass by adding or subtracting stuff.
  4. Aug 9, 2010 #3


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    This is like asking, "Is there currently a giant purple dinosaur on top of the Golden Gate Bridge? Even if an answer is 'no', followed by a reason, that answer is still valuable." It just makes people wonder why in the world you might suspect there was a dinosaur there. If you think dinosaurs aren't extinct, it's up to you to give some context by explaining why you think so. Otherwise nobody can give you a useful answer.
  5. Aug 10, 2010 #4
    What I mean is, if the answer to the question, “What means can there be, if even theoretical, to change the mass of a strange particle (without using relativistic effects), to make the mass variable?” is “none”, then the reason could be very instructive.

    For example, one reason why it may not ever be possible, even theoretically, is because “mass comes from the effects of the Higgs field, and that effect is constant for all known matter, including strange matter.”

    We believe that positively charged strange matter possesses some unusual properties. Do any of those unusual properties provide a weak point where the Higgs can be inhibited, or blocked? Or where another force or field can become more dominant under certain conditions?

    It would be greatly helpful if someone could answer with either, “Yes,” or “No, and the reason is...”

  6. Aug 10, 2010 #5
    Strange matter, in theory, does not have an intrinsically variable mass in the absence of the addition of more matter, decay, or Relativistic effects. That's the yes or no. I really think you should take bcrowell seriously however, because like him I'm left wondering why you'd ask this in the first place.
  7. Aug 11, 2010 #6
    oxidate, stress, excite...

    zero pressure seems like the biggest hurdle.
  8. Aug 11, 2010 #7
    I think you have some incorrect assumptions that are making it difficult for anyone to answer seriously.

    I think you may be confused about the term "strange" when used in a particle physics forum. "Strange matter" is a term used to describe matter which is made up of u, d and s quarks and will likely only occur at very high densities. "Normal" matter is composed only of u and d quarks. At these high densities, matter does not behave in a way that is related to our everyday experiences. So, talking about "Iron strange matter" makes everyone scratch their heads. Iron, as we think about it in normal life, would not exist at these densities.

    In addition, your notion of zero pressure at room temperature makes my head itch also.
  9. Aug 12, 2010 #8
    I don't know why something made with strange quarks would behave so "strangely" as you suggest... strange quarks are still normal matter.

    If you add a scalar potential to a relativistic equation, then the effective mass of particles can change (even become negative. This is a Lorentz invariant way of getting normal matter to go superluminal). I don't know if this helps you though since we've never discovered any scalar fields and it doesn't have anything to do with "strange matter".
  10. Aug 12, 2010 #9
    I've read that there is such a thing as "iron strangelets" or "cobalt strangelets", etc., that essentially act chemically like regular iron and cobalt. The biggest difference will be their weight. Thus, they'd act like heavy isotopes of those materials.

    Another question: If there were a nugget of strange matter on my desk the size of a grain of sand, it of course would be very heavy. But, could it be cut or machined, or would it behave like an atomic nucleus that cannot be split without significant effort and subsequent release of energy?

    I apologize for asking these questions, but I'm having a very difficult time finding answers to them. Some of you out with training and education in this field may be able to answer these questions easily.
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