Electromagnetic Nature of Thermo-Mechanical Mass-Energy Transfer

Electromagnetic Nature of Thermo-Mechanical Mass-Energy Transfer Due to Photon Diffusive Re-Emission and Propagation
Milivoje M. Kostic, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Only simple qualitative arguments can reveal the underlying physic” was quoted by Philippe Nozieres and ‘heartily agreed’ by Anthony Legget, a Nobel laureate [ScienceBulletin 63 (2018) 1019-1022]. See also Nature of Heat and Thermal Energy and Reflection on Caloric Heat and Thermal Energy
The questions arise as to "What are the underlying, fundamental mass-energy carriers during conduction heat transfer? How those megawatts of the energy rate are steadily flowing along the rotating shaft, through the shaft's cross-section, and what are the underlying, fundamental mass-energy carriers?" To this author’s knowledge, there are no answers to these important questions in the open literature.

    It is widely believed that thermal heat conduction and mechanical work transfer are “massless” phenomena. However, based on existing observations of electron-shell interactions and well established phenomena and theories, including Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence and thermal radiation, it is reasoned and deduced here, that for a conduction heat transfer (e.g. through a wall) or mechanical work transfer (e.g. a rotating shaft), there has to be electromagnetic energy transfer (i.e., via photon propagation) and commensurate mass-transfer trough material systems involved, from a mass-energy source to a sink system. Otherwise, the Einstein's mass-energy equivalence and the Physics law of forced interactions will be violated, since these thermo-mechanical phenomena are neither gravitational nor nuclear interactions

    The Nature of Thermal Mass-Energy Transfer

    Two illustrative systems are presented on Figure 1 above, with a steady-state, mass-energy transfer from a mass-energy source on the left to a sink system on the right. At the lower part of the Figure a steady-state, mass-energy transfer from a gas turbine to an electric generator, via rotating turbine shaft is depicted. The objective here is to reason the fundamental mass-energy carriers during the steady-state mechanical energy transfer through the rotating shaft, to be discussed below. In the upper part of Figure 1, the system is chosen to demonstrate steady-state, mass-energy transfer from a high-temperature heat source (e.g., an infinite thermal reservoir) through a vacuum chamber on the left (i.e., via photonic electromagnetic thermal radiation) to an amorphous and opaque heat-conduction plate (i.e., to avoid phonon and free-electron contribution to heat conduction, for simplicity -- to be explained elsewhere), to be finally transferred to a low temperature heat sink (an infinite thermal reservoir) through a vacuum chamber on the right (i.e., via photonic electromagnetic thermal radiation), thus maintaining the steady-state mass-energy transfer. The system is adiabatically insulated on the side to prevent any heat loss to the rest of the surroundings. The objective here is to reason the underlying, fundamental mass-energy carriers during the steady-state heat conduction through the plate.

For the steady-state operation of the above process, there will be a constant energy flow, i.e., a constant energy transfer rate, from the left to the right as depicted on Figure 1. Since the Einstein's mass-energy equivalence is universally valid, then there will be a commensurate mass flow (as from the Sun to Earth), i.e., the constant mass transfer or propagation rate, or more accurately the mass-energy propagation rate. Depending on material structure, the heat conduction may be enhanced by free-electrons (like in metals) or by “collective” mechanical vibration of solid crystalline structure (like in crystals), both caused by thermal motion of atoms and molecules, the latter known as thermal phonons (not elementary particles but quasi-particles).

The conduction heat transfer is in essence diffusive EM-photonic flow driven by the thermal collisions of atomic or molecular electron shells through material structure, with EM frequencies spectra corresponding to thermal radiation at relevant temperature of the material structure. The electron shells thermal-interactions are also the cause of thermal radiation off the surface of such material structure. This hypothesis should be rather obvious and could be further researched and elaborated. Through amorphous structure the EM-photon propagation is diffusive and rather slow, from electron shell to neighboring colliding shell due to random thermal motion. However the EM thermal propagation may be enhanced by bulk molecular diffusion (or convective flow in fluids), or free electron flow or crystalline vibration (virtual phonons), all caused by thermal motion. 

During any heat transfer process there must be a net-propagation of photons through a boundary (in addition to free electrons or other material particle diffusion within, if any, which are only carriers of electromagnetic photons) and the equivalent mass will be transferred (mtr=Etr/c2) from one material system to another (regardless of the amount), thus in the process, effectively propagating photon electro-magnetic energy (Eph=hf), and inertial mass (total relativistic mass), in direction of decreasing temperature (opposite direction of the temperature gradient), from a mass-energy source to a sink system.

Actually, the deficiency of classical Fourier heat conduction theory (parabolic differential equation), allowing infinite speed of thermal energy propagation (i.e., a change of temperature at one location is felt instantaneously at infinity), is challenged by Hyperbolic Heat Conduction Model, Relativistic Heat Conduction Theory, and Thermomass Theory (with ‘thermon’ quasi-particle), the latter also based on Einstein's mass-energy equivalence [see Pre-Print]. 

The Nature of Mechanical Mass-Energy Transfer

     Mechanical work transfer is similar, but more elusive than heat conduction. It is happening during mechanical energy transfer (known as work transfer), see Figure 1 and Figure 2 below. On the Figure a rotating shaft from a gas-turbine to electric-generator in a typical power-plant is presented. Megawatts of energy-rate are "flowing" along the shaft (thorough the shaft's cross-section), and then after conversion in an electrical-generator, as electrical energy through the powerlines, in a steady-state operation.

The question arises as to "How those megawatts of the energy-rate are steadily flowing along the rotating shaft, through the shaft's cross-section, and what are the underlying, fundamental mass-energy carriers?" To this author’s knowledge, there is no answer to this important question in the open literature.
    It is reasoned here, based on existing and well-established knowledge, that it has to be a purposefully ordered and virtually frictionless streaming, called here the "super-directional flow", of electromagnetic photons through the web-like electron shells of the mechanically stressed-structure, forcefully displacing "stealth-like energy" under load as a virtual mechanical-superconductor [possibly with X-ray frequencies (Nature 455, 1089 (2008)]. After all, the commensurate (amount of) energy is carried out, after conversion, by charged electrons in power lines. Without any observable charge-potentials and dissipative effects to be measured, such "super-conductive mechanical-energy flow" in the rotating shaft is stealth and elusive unless somehow disrupted (e.g., in a structural break-down, with conversion of such "stealth" energy to overwhelming and often dangerous heat and sound), or it is manifested later after conversion to electrical or other energies.

 Mechanical energy-transfer physics is rather elusive and hard to comprehend, since the underlying mechanism of mechanical energy flux through material structure is not observable, virtually superconducting EM-photonic “super-directional purposeful-flow” without electrical or magnetic charge, or dissipation to be observed and measured, as if miraculous. What is obvious is that measurable mechanical-energy flow (could be arbitrary large or small) is carried through a mechanical structure from an energy-source to an energy-sink, like in a stationary huge-energy transfer along a rotating shaft (through its cross-section) from a power-plant turbine (energy source) to an electrical generator (energy sink). Since the underlying mechanism for mechanical energy transfer is not gravitational nor weak/strong nuclear, it has to be electromagnetic (EM-Photonic), similar to other electrical, magnetic, chemical and thermal interactions.

The question arises, what is underlying mechanism of mechanical energy transfer and how does it happen? The most probable scenario, to be further researched and elaborated, is that initially, when mechanical structure is mechanically stressed, it is charged with EM-photons, and during mechanical, forced displacement, an EM-photonic flux is propagating through stressed electron shells of the mechanical structure, in very organized, purposeful super-directional way without dissipative loses, probably with extremely high frequencies, in some way similar to extremely high-frequency of alternating current, but without electrical or magnetic polarity, thus without any observable charge or stress gradients along a shaft, for example. If such, virtually reversible-and-superconducting, EM-photonic transfer is interrupted (breakage of mechanical structure or similar), then it will dissipate observable energy, like X-ray [Peeling tape X-ray flashes (Nature 455, 1089 (2008)], or intense heat with infrared radiation, sound etc. Further research may provide critical answers related to the hypotheses raised here and possibly discover unprecedented application potentials.

For ideal elastic or perfectly rigid solid, having a steady-state forced motion and transferring mechanical energy without its acceleration (like a stationary-rotating shaft on the Figure 1 & 2), the mechanical energy and commensurate mass-energy propagation of electromagnetic photons (Etr=mtr*c^2) will not accumulate within nor accelerate the body but only propagating through the body structure without observable stress/force gradient through such intermediary (an ideal elastic solid-body may be considered as mechanical superconductor). However the stress/force gradient will exist at the energy source (where mechanical energy is generated), through dissipative intermediary interactions, and at energy sink (where mechanical energy is converted and/or dissipated), thus effectively propagating photon mass-energy (with relevant photon conversions and transformations, annihilation and reemission, through material structure, like frequency shifting and other phenomena if appropriate, from an energy source to a sink, by accelerating material (sub)structures of the mass-energy sink system (e.g., a resisting frictional load) on the expense of decelerating material (sub)structures of an acting mass-energy source system.

Mechanical stress or elasticity is electrically-neutral, forced electromagnetic-charge (photonic charge), like in a mechanically-stressed body or compressed fluid. With forced, mechanical displacement (e.g., compressing, pushing or twisting under forced stresses), mass-energy is transferred from acting energy-source to resisting energy-sink. Virtually reversible, super-directional streaming of EM-photons through electron shell web-structure makes mechanical transfer to be virtually superconducting and elusive (virtually without entropy generation). 

KEY POINT 1: Einstein’s Mass-Energy Equivalency, E=Mc^2, is a universal law, and valid in general without exceptions.

NOTE: If we heat a gas with heat-energy (Q) in a fixed cylinder (or a spring, or a brick for that matter), its mass should increase for Q/c^2. Likewise, if we compress a gas in a cylinder (or a spring for that matter) with a mechanical work-energy (W), its mass should increase for W/c^2. In both cases electromagnetic, EM mass-energy ("photonic flow") has to be transferred across the gas boundary since the heating and mechanical-work (forced pushing or twisting) are not gravitational nor nuclear interaction, regardless of how or where the heat or work were obtained from (irrelevant of prior energy conversions). Mass-energy may be stored in gravitational field or nucleus or any material structure and be converted to heat or work and stored as thermal energy or mechanical elastic-stress energy.

Most scientists/physicists (and particularly modern physicists) agree that Einstein’s Mass Energy Equivalency, E=mc^2, is universally valid and experimentally verifiable without exception and irrespective of the type and amount of energy. When energy is added to a body it will increase its internal rest-energy and rest-mas (the two being equivalent): Everything else the same, a heated (rest) body is more massive than cold, charged battery is more massive than without charge, stressed (compressed or stretched) body is more massive than without stress, etc., all for the amount of added energy divided by light-speed-squared, regardless how big or small. Relativistic mass adds in addition to the rest-mass the linear or orbital momentum contribution, but irrelevant for our discussion with stationary systems.

KEY POINT 2: The “mass-energy carriers” through a stationary-moving mechanical shaft (e.g., rotating shaft under stationary load) while transferring mass-energy along (i.e., through any of its cross-sections), from a mass-energy source (like a rotating mechanical turbine) to a mass-energy sink (like a rotating mechanical-coils of an electric generator), has to be electro-magnetic (photonic) since there are no gravitational nor nuclear interactions within the rotating shaft.

NOTE: If we take a control volume (CV) within any two cross-sections of the steadily rotating shaft, under steady load from mass-energy source to the sink (i.e., between the shaft bearings to eliminate any friction), and apply mass-energy conservation equation (the First Law of thermodynamics), then the mass-energy inflow through the entry cross-section has to be the same as outflow through exit cross-section, since there is no storage within the CV during any steady-state (stationary) process. Since the mass-energy is transferring through the shaft CV, the question is “what are the mass-energy carriers through?” since nothing is obviously observed through (no electron or mass fluxes!) and the mass-energy inflow appears to be the same (in quantity and quality) as mass-energy outflow, thus ideal mass-energy transfer through, without any dissipative processes, as a perfect mechanical superconductor.

    Furthermore, when intrinsic energy is stored within a material system, its structure has to be charged by photons (directly or indirectly), accompanied with the equivalent mass increase of Mph=Eph/c^2, either as electrical charge (increased voltage), or mechanical charge (increased stress), or thermal charge (increased temperature), or similar. When such intrinsic energy (with underlying photonic charge) is being transferred through a material system, the underlying photonic charge (directly or indirectly) has to be transferred as photonic flux, Mtr=Etr/c^2, either directly with mechanical displacement through a stressed mechanical structure (like through a cross-section of the rotating shaft on Figure 2 above), or indirectly with electron collisions and displacement during thermal, electrical or chemical interactions, or similar, with underlying "photonic flux" transfer. 

    While heat transfer is driven by random, thermal electron-shells' collisions, thus diffusive-like net-propagation of EM-photons from higher to lower thermal potential (temperature), with possible enhancement by free electron flow or crystal-lattice vibrations (phonons), the mechanical energy transfer is probably accomplished by direct EM-photonic flow through the mechanically-stressed electron-shells within stiff bulk-structure, by mechanical displacement in unique direction, from energy-source to energy-sink, virtually without any dissipation as mechanical superconduction of EM-photons, probably with extremely high frequency and energy density. 

    However, during real, irreversible EM (electro-magnetic) interactions and processes the photons are not overall conserved but produced or generated, similar to entropy generation. For example, the EM solar energy (coming from the Sun at about 5800K surface temperature) to the Earth is reemitted to the universe as infrared energy at about 290K (the Earth's surface average equilibrium temperature) with commensurate larger number of photons, and similar for all other irreversible processes. In ideal reversible interactions and processes the photons should be overall conserved, like entropy is. The photons may be the ultimate, underlying EM displacement and ultimate underlying structure of entropy (see its statistical limitations), since all forms of energy in the end convert to thermal EM-energy, ultimately leading to the "thermal death" of the universe? 
In summary, based on simple, phenomenological, cause-and-effect conservation concepts and the mass-energy equivalence law, it is deduced here that conduction heat transfer and mechanical work transfer within material systems are photonic, i.e., electromagnetic in nature. The hypotheses posed here, some thought-provoking, have additional objective to initiate further discussions with constructive criticism, and future research and applications, related to the conclusions deduced and open questions posed.