Have you ever thought about how sound waves could move something? We’ve seen things like this happen in science fiction, but never in real life.
Scientists have shown in a new study that sound particles can carry mass. This also means that these particles may be able to make their own fields of gravity.
Angelo Esposito, Rafael Krichevsky, and Alberto Nicolis used effective field theory methods in their study, which was published in the journal Physical Review Letters. They did this to confirm a result that researchers reported last year when they were trying to figure out how much mass sound waves could carry.
Scientists have said for a long time that soundwaves could definitely carry energy, but they haven’t been able to show that sound particles can also carry mass.
Nicolis and Riccardo Penco of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia used quantum field theory to show that sound waves moving through superfluid helium might carry a small amount of mass.
Scientists found that photons interact with a gravitational field, which makes them carry mass as they move through a material.
According to the study, there is evidence to suggest that most materials are likely to have the same results.
They used the theory of effective fields to show that a one-watt sound wave traveling through water for one second could move about 0.1 milligrams of matter.
The research article talks about how it was found that the mass is only a small part of the total mass of a wave-moving system.
Scientists didn’t really measure how much mass sound waves moved; instead, they used mathematical formulas to show that it would work.
“We trust the results,” says Nicolis, “because the math used to describe solids and fluids is very similar. But trying to figure out what these results mean for solids at the microscopic level is hard right now.”
Ira Rothstein, a high-energy physicist at CMU, says, “This is a big surprise.” “You might have thought that this kind of result in classical physics was well known. We hope to be able to see the results soon.”
The results were written up in a journal called Physical Review Letters.