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Mass as the Confinement of Energy

Noel Eberz, May 2005 

Just what is mass? If mass & energy are interchangeable, in what ways does mass capture energy and retain it?           

Call it a mid-life crisis, but as a space science engineer including some early planetary exploration (the moon), an interest turned to geology.  Kind of a ‘Eureka’ moment was discovering the mineral world (and composite rocks) was essentially simple combinations of inert oxides, FeO, SiO2, etc.  Their great combinatorial chemical energy was quite expended but there was still available gains in forming solid crystals.  An interesting revelation was the relatively consistent ionic sizes of the different elements and specifically with oxygen quite large.  Four in close contact like marbles, could contain a silicon ion within the imagined interstitial space.  In other words, this SiO4 was no bigger than an imagined O4.  This was relatively true for the other common metals, also small compared to oxygen. 

            Applying this principle, I created a formula for the density of hexagonally packed oxygen ions, calling this unreal mineral ‘Oxyite’ but then could calculate the actual density of common minerals by substituting the appropriate ratio of the other added elements as if they took up no additional regional space.  Eg.  Quartz density, SiO2, equals Oxyite density times (1/2Si+O) /O.  While this was not an accurate way to determine mineral density, it did demonstrate the close packing of mineral ions and some variation as to why they might not be just perfect Oxyite packing.  Beside this rather late discovery - mineralogy is centuries old - in my own case, found a late entry into a topic frequently yielded a fresh insight. Then I was 50, now I’m over 70.

            While having previously discussed many aspects of Mass-Energy-Space on this website, the recent notion of micro Black holes in a Scientific American article, May ’05, triggered this additional response.  Among other things it includes some simple object density ideas like the minerals mentioned above.

            Essentially in magic ways - detailed in other disciplines - mass is the confinement of energy to the ratio of E=mc2 by gravity, electromagnetic or nuclear forces, all well understood quantitatively but not necessarily the magic of the confinement technique itself, or just as relevant, the essential equivalence between them.  But there are clues in general of what confinement is or is not.  Kinetic energy (KE) or momentum (mv) captured by these various forces is in a permanent state such as astro-planetary systems, atoms or even nuclei.  As best we can understand the nature of their mass-energy interactions, they are mass in various types of rotation or spin.  At least top/down, while farther down spin tends to lose its mechanical meaning.  While mass & energy are always conserved, in the nuclear case, we can observe total conversion of mass (confinement) to free energy (unconfined) at the velocity of light (Voc) between a positronium and two photons.  An additional one way process is black body radiation, a direct conversion of mass to free radiant energy. Another insight opportunity is reviewing mass density.

In terms of mass objects, consider the following, average to the center maximum:                       

Density of water equals 1 gm/cm3

Earth (phase object/star)

5 to 10  gm/cm3

Sun (atomic star/object) 

1.4 to 160 gm/cm3

Pulsar (neutron star)

106 - 1016 gm/cm3

Black hole (quark star?) 

1022  to ?? gm/cm3


             The size and density of these objects vary on many factors, particularly total mass and compressibility.  The earth in the phases of liquid or solid is mildly compressible hence not much more then basic mineral density.  The sun as a vapor or plasma is a combination of both heat (KE) and atomic mass as essentially opposing forces, so overall even less dense than the whole earth although considerably more compressed and hotter at the center.

            For comparison, a neutron star can also vary greatly in density, again based on temperature (KE) and actual total mass but is somewhere between the density of a single defined atom to that within the defined space of a neutron.  So the transition from atom to neutron releases all the atomic confinement energy, maybe amounting to 1-2% of a nova or supernova, dispelling large quantities of atomic mass including heavier nucleon mass atoms back to space.  Bless the birth of our atomic ancestors!

            The next sized object in the density table has a serious bifurcation in internal comprehension.  And here questioned as either a Black hole, a math oddity, or maybe a quark star, a higher density recognized idea of mass but unknown to exist as a star.  The oddity of a Black hole is that it has a gravity field at an ‘event horizon’ (Schwarzschild radius) sufficient to prevent even a photon from escaping by virtue of a conjectured point mass of undefined nature at the center.  Now this essay does not question if a large billion sun mass object exists in the center of our galaxy or doesn’t have exterior properties of a very strong gravitational field but is that math model realistic?  Maybe something else makes more sense.  Figure 1 is an overlay of a Black hole containing a quark star but calls the latter a ‘Grey hole’ and therein the suggestion how a quark star or even deeper sub-quark star may be hidden below the mathematical ‘event horizon’.

In sequence of density, we might refer to these objects as ‘soups’ of atoms, neutrons and quarks, except for the earth which is in a cooler phase relation between solids and liquids.  So temperature is important too.  Think of temperature as kinetic energy always confined in other mass configurations: Atoms vibrating in a crystal lattice or air molecules colliding in an ‘atmos-sphere’.  But in this tabular progression, in each case of mass organization reduction, while there is a density increase, there is also a corresponding percentage loss of total mass.

            So far having identified curl and spin being contained in all these named objects, how important is this organized spin?  As noted, it is part of the mass magnitude but how might it be destroyed?  First consider a solar system.  Within it, we have the mass of the sun and planets and all the kinetic energy of motion also identified as angular momentum and heat.  Placing ourselves outside farther in space, this M + KE then becomes a static, confined, equivalent, larger mass.  Next consider two such independent systems colliding or joining.  If randomly oriented, in a rare case of their angular momentum being added, all other cases would destroy aspects of the spin in large and small collisions.  In this highly visible example, while there would be technically no loss of mass, there would be a distinct difference in what we could call confined mass.  Portions of the spin component would become linear KE or a heat component, not necessarily escaping except slowly in the form of radiant energy.  Simply put in the extreme case, the two solar system combination would become a large hotter star, within a smaller non planetary space.  Could this be equivalent to the fate of atoms of an atomic star when compressed into the neutrons of a neutron star?  In such a nova, there is a density increase but mass/energy is lost in the heat explosion from the new confinement configuration.

            To the degree that mass confinement is related to spin, each object size level can be destroyed when that spin radius is breached in the compression of similar sized objects.  In actuality, we are not privy to the next compressive step from a neutron star to a quark star or the mass loss nature of the transition, as that possibility is hidden behind the ‘event horizon’ of the Black hole.  Furthermore the Black hole math model passes right thru this quark soup level and on to infinite mass compression, never worrying about what that mass might be.

            My contention:  If there is no confinement, there is no mass.  If there is no mass, there is no gravity.  If there is no gravity there is no Black hole.  How do we get out of this apparent dilemma?  First, accept something is wrong with the math model.  But what?  We observe the input mass but how might the destroyed confinement be manifest?  Like the solar system example, a noted aspect is increased black body radiation but that can’t get out of a Black hole either.  What else may be included?

             One contradictory part of the the Relativistic notion is that a gravitational field dilates space becoming infinite at the event horizon, in effect creating an inner sphere beyond the mathematical rules of known physics.  The second contradiction implied here is the lack of any environment therein in which any definition of mass has any meaning.  There is an alternative.  Simply switch the notion of expanded space to thicker space, with a gravitational field being a denser space with a slower velocity of light.  See  Figure 1, Black hole and Grey hole Compared, with a relative log magnitude scale of mass and light velocity on the y-axis and relative size in the x-axis for objects of one solar mass.  Compared is the Voc for a Relativistic space (space-time) or a simple Newton/Euclidian constant metric (N/E space).  At the Schwarzschild radius the Relativistic parameters end, while in the N/E metric there is no dilation but the Voc slows.  If there is no Schwarzschild radius, different ‘soups’ can now be identified within a rising gravitational gradient.  Here there is two ways to look at mass and energy confinement.

            In one image, a Grey hole is a ‘soup’ of some lesser mass configuration at a higher density and temperature but also recall temperature exists only in mass.  While the gravity gradient is high, the radial radiant energy is not blocked but can slowly climb out.  This in itself is a unique form of confinement, not permanent but temporal.  Here we will also add the conjecture that the slow radial radiation is also part of the ponderability of the gravitational field.  Let’s carry that to the extreme.

            Such a Grey hole could also be a massless object of random photon energy of such quantify and magnitude, its confinement is attained by its own interaction.  While the radiation is massless, it is confined by collisions with itself and on a large scale, a new form of  self confinement.  In this case we have a Grey hole not only beyond the limits of Relativity, but also not necessarily a permanent confinement, rather a time delayed confinement of radiation energy in a slow but an inevitable dispersion of not spin mass but linear radial energy.

             This creates the notion that there is also two ways to look at a gravitational field. That the ponderability of mass or its gravitational field includes the vector of its gradient, but also a scalar component, a space fabric density.  From an external viewpoint, the former contributes to the attraction or curvature of a photon traveling thru it while the later is the relaxation constant of space effecting the velocity of the photon traveling thru it.  This is essentially refractive index physics. 

            Within this N/E space metric model there are multiple interpretations: 

Figure 2, Possible interpretation of a Grey hole, compares high density ‘soups’ as a combination of two confinement mechanisms, the permanent mass confinement and the slow velocity temporal radial energy confinement.  In each object case shown, ponderability is a combination of Spin confinement (mass) and temporal radial confinement (radiation).  In the case of ‘soup A’ the radiation is more significant.  In the case of ‘soup C’, the spin confinement or normal mass is more significant.  The diagram displays this as the diminishing scalar magnitude to the object center but not zero.  Compared to as small an object as the earth, the zero value is the recognized state for gravity at the center, rising to the external gravitational gradient vector at earth’s surface.  At the top extreme is a ‘photon star’, even higher in density and smaller radius, above the ‘soup A’ configuration, essentially a massless mass.

            Now this is not as radical a physical change as might be imagined.  A young Relativity student could invert the Relativistic equations from expanding space to a thicker space by a switch of which parameters are variable, in this case having Voc the variable and space the constant.  This doesn’t destroy Relativity, merely modifies it  but among other things eliminates the unrealistic Schwarzschild event horizon and its associated infinities and mass singularity supposedly in the Black hole.  And of micro Black holes, I have no clue.

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