Study is an unpredictable procedure. At times you wind up making a truly cool discovery that you did not see coming. I recently uncovered an important property of lightsabers (that’s right – the great weapons from Star Wars) while doing my regular plasma physics research. I discovered that, while it’s in theory possible to construct a lightsaber, it is very likely it will be by far the most dangerous weapon ever created – both for the target as well as the perpetrator.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens being released on DVD after breaking all records types at the box office, I reckon it was a great moment to share the news.
Regardless of the name, it’s been established in Wars canon that is Star that these early weapons of the Jedi are actually, actually, not laser swords but blades of plasma. Plasma is usually referred to as the “fourth state of matter” besides the solids, gases and liquid that we are all familiar with here on Earth. Nevertheless, plasmas are actually by far the most typical state of all obvious matter in the universe (excluding the mysterious “dark matter” or maybe “dark energy”) comprising some 99%.
The factor makes plasmas distinct from the additional states is the fact that they’re made up of electrically charged particles – loose electrons (negatively charged) and atoms which have lost electrons (positively charged), despite having no general charge. Any moving electrical charge, like all those inside a plasma, creates magnetic fields and can certainly additionally be manipulated using electric or magnetic fields – unlike a basic gas.
Magnetic fields are actually the crucial to containing the plasma in a blade, they are able to balance out the pressure of the favorite plasma trying to broaden into the environment of its. This’s just one of the approaches which were created in looking to harness nuclear fusion energy, in which atomic nuclei (atoms which have no electrons) collide to create a brand new nucleus while releasing massive amounts of power.
Fusion requires extraordinary temperatures so that the positively charged atomic nucleii is able to overcome the tendency of theirs to repel one another. We produce these warm plasmas in doughnut shaped fusion reactors (“tokamaks”) which use harsh electromagnets in the reactor walls to keep the plasma away. Probably The largest of those such experimental reactors will be ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) construction of that will end in 2019 and which is designed to ultimately be in a position to create much more energy by fusion than is actually put in to create, sustain and control the plasma itself.
You will find 2 ways plasmas are able to emit light. The very first is actually by being extremely warm. The sun, for example, is actually a ball of hot plasmas whose heat source comes out of the fusion taking place in the core of its. Most hot objects emit electromagnetic radiation with certain wavelengths. Their perceived colour depends entirely on the temperature of theirs, going from white for lower temperatures and blue for higher temperatures. This’s likely the cause of a lightsaber’s glow – in case you would like an extremely hazardous lightsaber, you require a blue one.
The other way plasmas could glow is quite much like the way a fluorescent light bulb works. By running an electric current by way of a a plasma, electrons are able to collide with the positively charged atoms (dubbed ions), which raises the energy of theirs. It is akin to picking up a ball off of the ground and placing it on one of many shelves – this raises the ball’s potential energy, whereby the shelves stand for the energy amounts of the ions. Though nature is inherently lazy and can usually make an effort to return to probably the lowest possible state of power. Ultimately the ball is going to roll out of the shelf falling back again to the ground. The ions make this happen by releasing the extra energy of theirs as light – which may produce the lightsaber glow. This particular light is going to be of a certain colour based on the make up of the plasma.
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While lightsabers do appear possible from a physics perspective, the energy needs for such a device will be astounding, particularly given it has to be found to the little lightsaber hilt. Great advancements in technology will be forced to make lightsabers a reality. But there is an even larger issue which would happened in case you are to ever use a lightsaber duel like in the films.
Effective magnetic effects
Magnetic reconnection is an essential plasma physics process which can take place when plasmas with various magnetic fields collide. As the magnetic fields of each plasma get in close proximity to one another, the whole pattern of magnetic field lines changes and everything realigns into a brand new magnetic configuration – releasing massive amounts of power.
This’s what basically fuels the aurora or maybe northern lights – energy from the solar wind is actually released when these particles collide with plasma inside Earth’s magnetic field under a certain set of conditions.
It is from the studies of ours of the conditions under which reconnection is able to happen in space that I managed to realise the trouble with lightsaber battles. When 2 plasma blades clash it’s nearly impossible to stay away from magnetic reconnection, with the results being an intense release of the plasma found in both sabers. This will imply that, in case you are in a lightsaber duel, both you and the opponent of yours would’ve body parts vaporised in a single clash!
Possibly the producers of the coming 2 Star Wars films must create a note … on the other hand that knows how “The Force” works?