THE PHYSICS OF MAGNETOSTATIC ENERGY DRAWDOWN

by

Bibhas R. De

WHAT IS MAGNETOSTATIC ENERGY DRAWDOWN?


Magnetostatic energy drawdown

Consider first a stringed musical instrument with a string under tension (and therefore storing some energy), firmly anchored at two ends. When you strike or pluck the string, it makes musical notes – and thus sound energy. Where did this energy come from? It came entirely from the act of plucking or striking – the energy stored in the string does not contribute to the sound energy. The stored energy is not available at the location of plucking and striking.

So it is with magnetic field. Consider a planetary magnetic field line (liken this to the string) at a location O in the magnetosphere. The source of this magnetic field is within the planet (and can be likened to the anchors in the above analogy). If at the location O you bring a small compass needle, it will align itself to the planetary magnetic field line. The energy needed to effect this alignment comes from the energy you expend in bringing the compass there. The energy of the planetary magnetic field at O is not available there to be tapped, or, “drawn down”.

Let’s make this example a little more realistic. Suppose that you apply an electric field E at O, and this electric field accelerates an electron, which curves around the magnetic field. The electron thus gains some extra kinetic energy. It the electron now collides with another particle and gives up its entire energy to produce heat, where did this energy come from? It came from whatever the kinetic energy the electron initially possessed plus the work done on the electron by the electric field. Again, the energy in the planetary magnetic field is not available to take part in this local process at O, far away from the source.

This analogy – to the extent that it applies – is consistent with the current view of the nature of magnetic field. This view is the solid granite foundation of many developments, including the entire science of plasma physics and the entire enterprise of “hot” fusion energy research. If the drawdown effect existed, it would invalidate the tacit assumption of its nonexistence that underlies many developments. We can summarize the above discussion by the statement:

The magnetic energy drawdown effect is forbidden in the present formulation.

SO WHY BRING IT UP AT ALL?

Because I am questioning the entire current view of the nature of magnetic field. However, if I tell you what this view is, I would be altering the sequence of ideas in the order that I published them. So first I say that there exists a drawdown effect, and then I prove it. Then I use this result to elaborate on the nature of magnetic field.

The way I saw it, the drawdown effect is rather difficult to properly formulate. I therefore took a two-pronged approach: First I showed the effect in a dielectric gas in a magnetic field – using theoretical results I derived earlier. Encouraged by this, I then tried to show the same in a plasma in a magnetic field.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE STRING ANALOGY IN THE CASE OF DRAWDOWN?

Imagine the string of the musical instrument now as being made up of a large number of fine strands. If, when you pluck or strike the string, one of these strands breaks at the point of striking or plucking, some energy of the string is released at that point. In the case of a plasma, this snapping of the strand corresponds to inelastic collisions.

THE DRAWDOWN PAPERS

TRANSFORMATION OF MAGNETOSTATIC ENERGY

Abstract. Energy in a static magnetic field can be converted to other forms such as mechanical energy and heat. This is done by perturbing the magnetostatic energy by an electromagnetic wave – generating what has been described earlier as a ‘companion wave’. When energy is drawn down from this latter wave, the magnetic field decays.

For the full published paper, please click here.

MAGNETOSTATIC ENERGY DRAWDOWN IN A COSMIC PLASMA

Abstract. A charged particle in a cosmic plasma is often subjected to a static magnetic field and electromagnetic wave fields. These fields together produce a curved trajectory, and the particle feels a force due to this curvature. Analysis of the orbit shows that the particle takes energy from the magnetic field in the form of kinetic energy, and converts this energy to heat on collision with other particles. The result is a drawdown of the magnetostatic energy. Some cosmic environments where this effect may be relevant are suggested, and one of these (sunspot) is discussed in detail.

Unfortunately, the Plasma Physics Establishment did not let me publish this paper. I have therefore placed online a version of the manuscript, written in 1996. Please click here.

SO THEN, WHAT IS THIS NEW VIEW OF MAGNETIC FIELD?

Please click here.

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