McCarthy -- Scientific Materialism
Chapter II) Mechanical Models of Molecular Bonds and
The differences that arise between ideal gasses and real (molecular) gasses are
due to the molecular attractions that occur between particles in the latter. The
forces of various molecular bonds alter experimental results involving real
gasses and fluid in ways that must be taken into account. Yet, to those
unfamiliar with hydrodynamics or granular media experiments, it would seem
improbable that such forces could be reproduced simply by particles in motion.
It is important to remember that in ideal gasses and fluids, low pressure
systems will create vacuum "suction" or a seeming "attraction at
a distance." High pressure systems, on the other hand, will create a
repulsive force. Interestingly, it is well known to experts in fluid and
granular mechanics that the complicated interaction of various flows,
compression pulses, and pressure differentials will lead, through Newtonian
contact forces, to various attractions, repulsions, stable bonds, and
self-organized structures in hydrodynamic systems:
1) Bjerknes Forces
For more than a century, it has been known that particles that oscillate in
media systems produce attractions and repulsions that are mediated through the
medium. In the 1870's, the physicist C.A. Bjerknes (1) showed that "two
spheres immersed in an incompressible fluid, and which pulsate (i.e., change in
volume) regularly, exert on each other (by the mediation of the fluid)
an attraction, determined by the inverse square law,
if the pulsations are concordant; and exert on each other a repulsion, determined likewise by the
inverse square law if the phases of the pulsations differ by half a period....
If the spheres instead of pulsating, oscillate to and fro in straight lines
about their mean positions, the forces between them are proportional in
magnitude and the same in direction, but opposite in sign, to those which act
between two magnets oriented along the directions of oscillation.
"The results obtained by Bjerknes were extended by A. H. Leahy (2) in the
case of two spheres pulsating in an elastic
medium..... For this system,
Bjerknes' results are reversed, the law being now that of attraction in the case
of unlike phases , and of repulsion in the case of like phases; the intensity is
as before proportional to the inverse square of the distance."
Quoted from: Whittaker, Sir Edmund. History of the Theories of Aether and
Electricity, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., London (1953) pp. 284-285
1. Repertorium d. Mathematik I (Leipzig, 1877) p. 268. Gottinger Nachrichten
(1976), p.245; Comptes Rendus, lxxxiv (1877), p. 1375; cf. Nature, xxiv (1881),
2. (Trans. Camb. Phil. Soc. xiv (1884) p.45)
Bjerknes forces have been studied in great detail in the late 1990's,
particularly with regard to cavitation experiments. At the fluid
mechanics website of Boston University, one finds:
"In addition, the coupled oscillations of small clusters of (two, three or
more) bubbles under acoustic forcing are under investigation. Questions of
energy transfer between breathing and shape modes, and Bjerknes forces (in the
strongly nonlinear regime) acting upon bubbles are being addressed by means of
both analytical and numerical studies."
It is also possible that Bjerknes forces are involved in bonds that occur
between vortices (see below for vortex bonds), perhaps, resulting from
oscillations in volume of the vortex that may result.
As the vortex begins to form, the external pressure of the medium causes the
vortex to condense until the internal pressure and centrifugal force of the
vortex becomes greater than the external pressure. At this point, the vortex
stops condensing and begins to expand until the centrifugal forces and internal
pressure becomes less than the external pressure. The external pressure of the
medium then once again starts squeezing the vortex and the cycle begins
is possible that for ideal gas vortices constancy of volume is never achieved.
Instead the volume of the vortex continues to oscillate back and forth over a
particular region of stability. This could result in the Bjerknes forces
2) Rado Forces and Vortices as Elementary Particles
The equations for stable vortices in inviscid fluids (which are simply denser
versions of ideal gasses) can be found in most any tome on hydrodynamics. In
"Theoretical Hydrodynamics" by Milne-Thompson--Dover publications,
(1996)--page 85 contains the equations regarding "Permanence of Vorticity"
--so that given an inviscid fluid, conservative forces, pressure as a function
of density, a "particle which has vorticity at any time continues to have
The notion of a stable vortex as an elementary structure is not new. Thomson
posited it in the late 19th century, and various aspects of the theory are
presently being revisited by quantum loop and knot theorists.
publications website of Professor Stephen Lomonaco, full professor at
University of Maryland, one has access to the following paper:
"The modern legacies of Thomson's atomic vortex theory in classical
electrodynamics, in "The Interface of Knots and Physics," edited by
L.H. Kauffman, AMS PSAPM, Vol. 51, Providence, RI (1996), pp. 145 - 166.
(Invited paper) This paper is based on a one hour invited lecture given at the
American Mathematical Society (AMS) Short Course on Knots and Physics at the
Annual meeting of the AMS in January 1995 held in San Francisco, California.
11 includes an interesting quote on why the modern vortex theory still
"Sir Michael Atiyah:
"Stability. The vortex atoms are stable, as are physical atoms.
"Variety--There is a great variety of knots as there are a great variety of
"Spectrum--Vortex atoms have energy states, and vibration modes.
"Transmutation--Knotted vortex atoms change their knot type if their energy
is increased beyond a certain threshold, as do atoms physical atoms change their
Aethrokinematics, Stephen Rado develops a detailed, imaginative, and
mechanically intuitive explanation for many of the mysteries of electromagnetism
and quantum mechanics, beginning with the formation of a stable
"vortex-donut" from an ideal gas system. This vortex-donut comprises
an elementary composite particle that directs ether flows perpendicularly (with
respect to the motion of the vortex) through the eye of the vortex system, i.e.,
ether flows into the top and out the bottom or vice versa. Such a vortex
particle is equivalent to a dipole, with one end of the vortex system serving as
a hydrodynamic source and the other end a hydrodynamic sink. Such a system would
behave as a particle in most respects, yet would still allow a myriad of
kinematically plausible descriptions of repulsion, attraction, and stable bonds.
of Rado's "fan-magnet" from his website, for example, helps show
how these flows would circulate. Such forces that are due to the ether flows and
currents through the sink-source system are defined here as Rado forces.
3) More Materialistic Examples of Attractions, Repulsions, and Stable Bonds
Regardless of the Materialistic theoretical descriptions for various
electromagnetic type bonds, attractions, and repulsions, it is undeniable that
examples of such phenomena are abundant in Material media systems--and
particularly with vortices.
At the website of the Fluid
Dynamics Laboratory of Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands,
one finds pictures of a naturally occurring tripolar vortex in the ocean--with
one central vortex being orbited by two smaller ones. The structure lasted for
At nonneutral Plasma Group at the University of California, San Diego, one finds
pictures of a two
vortex merger and an
evolution to a vortex crystal.
A nice depiction of the
Havelock Instability appears at the vortex dynamics website of Berkeley. The
Havelock Instability helps describe the interesting phenomenon where the
stability of vortices depends on the presence and location of other
vortices--particularly in ring like configurations.
Organization of crystal structures also occurs with hard spheres immersed in
liquids (particularly in microgravity conditions) as well as with immiscible
liquids. The NASA website includes interesting descriptions of these hard
sphere experiments. Here's a quote from their page:
"When uniformly sized hard spheres suspended in a fluid reach a certain
concentration (i.e., the fraction of the total sample volume actually filled by
the spheres), the particle-fluid mixture changes from a disordered fluid state,
in which the spheres are randomly moving, to an ordered crystalline state, where
they are arranged periodically. The thermal energy of the spheres causes them to
jostle each other until they form ordered arrays, or crystals, because this
arrangement allows each sphere the most freedom of movement. "
At the website of physics
professor Dr. Paul Umbanhower, Northwestern University, one finds an
interesting description of immiscible fluid experiments:
"Emulsions are composed of two immiscible fluids: one fluid forms a
continuous phase in which the other fluid is dispersed as drops. Emulsions can
exhibit interesting rheological behavior including spontaneous ordering as shown
At Umbanhower's website is another more astounding example of self-organized,
stable, bonded structures that form due to Newtonian contact forces. These
structures, called oscillons, form when a medium of granules, like brass balls
or sand, are made to vibrate up and down.
Note. See: Brunardot's Pulsoids.] When these patterns were first
discovered, they were reported in the science section of The New York Times:
From The New York Times, 9/3/96
GRANULES, IF JIGGLED, MIMIC PATTERNS OF ATOMS AND MOLECULES
by Malcolm W. Browne
"A group of physicists at the University of Texas has reported an
astonishing discovery: when a thin layer of tiny brass balls is spread over the
flat bottom of a container and the container is jiggled up and down at a certain
rhythm, the balls spontaneously organize themselves into patterns that seem to
mimic behavior of atoms, molecules and crystals.
"Simply by tuning the rate and intensity of the jiggling, the Austin-based
group headed by Dr. Harry L. Swinney induced the creation of tiny peaks and
dimples in an otherwise flat layer of brass balls the size of sand grains. These
peaks and dimples, which the group has named "oscillons,"
Note. See: Brunardot's Pulsoids.] react with
each other almost the way electrical charges interact: similar oscillons, like
similar electric charges, repel each other and move apart, while opposite
oscillons attract each other and even seem to form stable bonds.
"Sometimes, as shown in a series of remarkable photographs published in the
current issue of the journal Nature accompanying the Texas group's report, the
peaks and dimples even join together to form objects suggestive of atoms. Some
join to form molecule-like objects, including polymers, and others form
checkerboard arrays suggestive of the atomic lattice structures of crystals....
"Dr. Sidney Nagel, who heads a group of physicists at the University of
Chicago studying granular materials...worries about drawing too many inferences
from analogous but very different systems, for example, the brass-ball patterns
seen at the University of Texas, compared with the analogous behavior of real
electric charges, atoms, molecules and crystals. Interactions at the molecular
and atomic level obey the statistical laws of quantum mechanics, while brass
balls in motion are governed by Newton's classical laws of motion.
"I think that what Harry Swinney has done is fascinating," Nagel said.
"He has these beautiful, very intriguing patterns that have charge-like
characteristics, attracting or repelling each other, and interacting in complex
“But we understand much more about what happens at the quantum mechanical
level than we do about the behavior of granular materials in motion. For the
brass-ball analogy of quantum mechanical processes to be useful, we would have
to find some link between the analogy and the reality. I don't think right now
we have a good idea where the analogy starts or ends, and although there
certainly seems to be an analogy there, we have to be careful of it. "
Note. See: Brunardot.com for the link.]
Journal References of effect:
Umbanhower, P.B., Melo, F. and Swinney H.L. “Localized excitations in a
vertically vibrated granular layer,” Nature, Vol 382 No. 6594, August 29,
New and Views- "Patterns in the Sand," P.B. Umbanhower, Nature 389,
Both Umbanhower's website above and this
website at the American Institute of Physics contain pictures of oscillons
Still, despite these interesting examples, the binding forces of atoms and
molecules remain a black box for which many possible materialist explanations
may be imagined. Experiments have led to data which have allowed various aspects
of these forces to be described with equations and principles. But determining
the precise mechanistic model of atoms and molecules that underlie the effect
will need more experimental research and elucidation. [Brunardot's
Note. See: Brunardot's Pulsoids.]
The above examples should only help prove that such binding forces in no way
refutes the notion of Materialism and that there exist a surprisingly large
number of mechanisms and materialistic theories that would account for this
Although the most fundamental particle of the ether is postulated to be
perfectly elastic (or at least the most elastic object possible), the collisions
with composite, compressible objects will tend to be inelastic. Some of the
momentum of the collision will increase the momentum of the composite particles
relative to the frame of the particle, i.e., part of the momentum is converted
1) First Law: Conservation of Energy
As momentum is always conserved and all collisions of base particles are
elastic, kinetic energy is always conserved. And, of course, according to
Materialism all energy is kinetic.
2) 2nd Law: Entropy
The second law was derived by Boltzmann mechanically (with elastic spheres), in
1877. The following educational web-sites help detail this: At the Victorian
Web , a website devoted, in part, to nineteenth century science,
science-historian Diane Greco writes:
"Maxwell's treatment left one fundamental question unanswered: if entropy
almost always increases, its growth is irreversible, yet the laws of mechanics
are reversible. How can entropy be a mechanical quantity?
"Addressing this problem in 1877, Ludwig Boltzmann provided the fundamental
statement of statistical mechanics: the second law of thermodynamics does not
hold absolutely, but is rather a statement of relative probabilities.
Specifically, Boltzmann showed that if molecules in a gas have many equally
likely microstates, the vast number of molecules with states at equilibrium
overwhelms the very few at any other condition. Boltzmann thus defined the
entropy of a gas as proportional to the logarithm of the number of microstates
that define its macroscopic condition. (This constant of proportion, k, is known
as Boltzmann's Constant.) When a system is not at equilibrium, its entropy is
almost always increasing; equilibrium states have a tremendously high entropy.
website of the Institute of physics of Yugoslavia, contains more
"In the 1870s Boltzmann published a series of papers in which he showed
that the second law of thermodynamics, which concerns energy exchange, could be
explained by applying the laws of mechanics and the theory of probability to the
motions of the atoms. In so doing, he made clear that the second law is
essentially statistical and that a system approaches a state of thermodynamic
equilibrium (uniform energy distribution throughout) because equilibrium is
overwhelmingly the most probable state of a material system. During these
investigations Boltzmann worked out the general law for the distribution of
energy among the various parts of a system at a specific temperature and derived
the theorem of equipartition of energy (Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution law).
This law states that the average amount of energy involved in each different
direction of motion of an atom is the same. He derived an equation for the
change of the distribution of energy among atoms due to atomic collisions and
laid the foundations of statistical mechanics."
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