Wave function of a flame or fire

1. Sep 6, 2012

rodsika

Hi, how do you describe the wave function of fire or a flame?

2. Sep 6, 2012

Staff: Mentor

Why do you think those two concepts are related in any way?
A flame consists of air and some flammable material of high temperature - so high that some atoms get ionized.

However, it is a large system in contact with its environment. There is no such thing as "the wave function of a flame". Depending on your favourite interpretation of QM, it does not have a wave function at all, you cannot observe the wave function or the wave function has many, (nearly) disconnected components and you cannot really tell what you call "the flame" in terms of the wave function.

3. Sep 6, 2012

VortexLattice

Yeah, what this guy said. I mean, technically each particle has a wave function and there's some horrendous mess of them, but any actual calculations you do would be much better done using Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics.

4. Sep 6, 2012

rodsika

in a flame in a candle light.. what is the combined shape of the physical bohmian wave function? Is it also flame shape or round? what do you think?

5. Sep 7, 2012

Staff: Mentor

Sorry, your question does not make any sense.

6. Sep 7, 2012

rodsika

A bohmian wave function is physical... but what is its shape with respect to an object?

7. Sep 7, 2012

Oudeis Eimi

No, technically, most particles don't have a wavefunction. A wavefunction (in position space), when it exists at all (not always true in relativistic cases), is the spatial projection of a pure state (a ket). A ket can only describe a closed system, or one whose environment is wholly classical and perfectly well known. That's a useful approximation in many cases, but not in general. For a general case, the quantum states are described by density operators.