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Author Topic: Are electrons orbiting a nucleus in perpetual motion?  (Read 6800 times)

Ruwan Rodrigo

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Ruwan Rodrigo  asked the Naked Scientists:

Chris,

Electrons rotating around a nucleus of an atom, is that some form of
perpetual motion? (Or earth rotating around the sun is that some form of perpetual motion?) Can humans duplicate this phenomenon to generate power?

Thank you,

Ruwan Rodrigo

What do you think?


 

Offline lightarrow

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Are electrons orbiting a nucleus in perpetual motion?
« Reply #1 on: 20/11/2008 15:55:09 »
Ruwan Rodrigo  asked the Naked Scientists:

Chris,

Electrons rotating around a nucleus of an atom, is that some form of
perpetual motion? (Or earth rotating around the sun is that some form of perpetual motion?) Can humans duplicate this phenomenon to generate power?

Thank you,

Ruwan Rodrigo

What do you think?
It's not correct to describe the electron in an atom as "moving around" the nucleus (at least for "normal" orbits; in extremely high energy levels the electron can be localized inside the orbit, but we are talking about exotic states). Earth rotating around the Sun is quite perfectly a motion without dissipative effects (almost perpetual in this sense). However you could simply take a magnetic top and spin it in the void. Anyway, you couldn't extract energy from any of these movement without slow down it. Perpetual motion in that sense cannot exist.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Are electrons orbiting a nucleus in perpetual motion?
« Reply #2 on: 20/11/2008 22:54:33 »
They are in effect in perpetual motion (Or in the case of the earth orbiting the sun almost perpetual motion) but that is only because no energy is being drawn from their motion.  Any attempt to generate any sort of useful power from this motion would remove enegy and eventually cause it to cease.
 

lyner

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Are electrons orbiting a nucleus in perpetual motion?
« Reply #3 on: 22/11/2008 18:18:13 »
The wavelike nature of an electron in the bound state in an atom is the best way to regard it and the idea of a paricle moving about in orbit is not  very fruitful.
The notion of perpetual motion is an essentially classical one and doesn't help in understanding of what goes on at the level of quantum Physics.
 

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Are electrons orbiting a nucleus in perpetual motion?
« Reply #4 on: 22/11/2008 18:51:12 »
They are in effect in perpetual motion (Or in the case of the earth orbiting the sun almost perpetual motion) but that is only because no energy is being drawn from their motion. 
If the theory about gravity waves is right then eventually the earth would crash into the sun because energy is radiated away.
 

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Are electrons orbiting a nucleus in perpetual motion?
« Reply #4 on: 22/11/2008 18:51:12 »

 

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