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Relativistic heat conduction

Cesar ´

S. Lopez-Monsalvo ´

General Relativity Group

Relativistic heat conduction Cesar S. Lopez-Monsalvo General Relativity Group School of Mathematics 1. W  

School of Mathematics

  • 1. W   ?

We want to understand heat flow in extreme physical situations and over the widest range of
We want to understand heat flow in extreme physical situations and over the widest range of
scales: from dissipation of the tremendous energies after the big bang, to the spectacular
explosions of supernovae which give birth to neutron stars and down to the microscopic
matter smashed at velocities near to the speed of light in particle accelerators.
Figure: The Crab nebula, the remnant of a supernova explosion with a neutron star in the centre (top). First images
taken with the Planck Satellite show tiny variations across the sky in the temperature when the universe was about
300,000 years old (right). “Star” of residual particles after a collision of heavy ions at RHIC (bottom).
  • 2. A - 

Temperature Space Time Space Figure: Time evolution showing infinite (left) and finite (right) signal propagation speed.
Temperature
Space
Time
Space
Figure: Time evolution showing infinite (left) and finite (right) signal propagation speed.
Imagine we heat the mid-point of a metal bar. How long will it take to feel the heat propagated
if we were holding one of the ends? According to the heat equation we would feel it
instantaneously (if we were sensitive enough). How can this be? Suppose that instead of
heating the bar, we hit it. Waves will propagate towards the ends at the speed of sound. Sound
waves satisfy the wave equation and have a finite propagation speed. The heat equation is not
of this type and therefore heat signals propagate infinitely fast.
  • 3. I      

  ?

One of the most fundamental principles in science, proposed by Einstein, states that the speed of
One of the most fundamental principles
in science, proposed by Einstein, states that
the speed of light is constant and has the same
value for every observer. Furthermore, no
physical object can travel faster than this speed.
What happens if something travels faster
than the speed of light? Suppose someone
sends you a message with the aid of a device
which can transmit signals faster than the
speed of light. One possibility is that you will
discover that the message was sent from your
future! So the device acts as a time-machine.
Figure: The apple is at the centre of a spacetime
bubble moving faster than the speed of light.
Answer: Relativity is one of our most fundamental theories of nature and it does not allow
signaling faster than the speed of light. Heat propagation is a serious problem in relativity.
  • 4. H    ?

Heat and temperature are two physical concepts which require a bit of explanation. In the crudest
Heat and temperature are two physical concepts which
require a bit of explanation. In the crudest sense, temperature
is the quantity we measure with a thermometer and heat is the
energy exchange between two bodies at different temperatures.
Relativity tells us how to relate the measurements
that different observers make of the same thing. Length
appears to contract or time seems to run slower for moving
observers. These effects are important even for everyday
use technology such as GPS. So what about temperature? Does
a moving body appear cool? This question was formulated
by Prof. Peter Landsberg (left) after a series of contradictory
results for the transformation law of temperature.
Answer: To solve this issue and Prof. Landsberg’s question, we need to construct a theory of
heat from relativistic principles.

Credits:

  • 1. Sections 1 and 7 are courtesy of NASA, ESA and RHIC.

  • 2. Section 5 glass is property of Steve Strawn, splutphoto.com.

The author acknowledges financial support from CONACYT, Mexico. ´

Supervised by Prof. Nils Andersson

  • 5. O   

The picture below shows a frozen moment. With that information alone we can ask: What will
The picture below shows a frozen moment. With that information alone we can ask:
What will happen next?
Which properties change?
What does this glass have in common with the big bang, exploding stars and the particles
smashed inside a collider?
In every process in the universe, entropy never decreases!
What does this have to do with heat and relativity?
Heat is intimately linked to entropy.
Our most important law should also hold in relativity.
  • 6. O 

To reconcile heat and relativity we proceed as follows: Consider matter as a fluid in spacetime.
To reconcile heat and relativity we proceed as follows:
Consider matter as a fluid in spacetime.
Introduce entropy as another fluid.
Allow interaction between them.
Obtain the relativistic dynamics of the system.
Understand the role of different observers.
Interpret the readings of their measurements.
Ensure that entropy never decreases.
What is the outcome?
A theory of relativistic heat
conduction which we can use to better understand
collapsing stars, the big bang and our metal bar.
  • 7. H          

  ?

If we interpret entropy as a fluid interacting with matter, fluid instabilities may occur. When two
If we interpret entropy as a fluid interacting with matter, fluid instabilities may occur. When
two or more fluids interact, small disturbances can grow to form interesting patterns such as
those observed in clouds, the Gulf Stream or the shapes in Jupiter’s bands. Our system is
susceptible to similar kind of instabilities. Of special interest is the one known as the
two-stream instability, which we have managed to generalize to a relativistic setting.
Figure: Bands in Jupiter’s atmosphere (top). Gulf Stream temperature (right). Two-stream instability in clouds
(bottom).
Answer: We use the two-stream instability analysis to assess stability and to verify that the
matter models one can propose propagate heat slower than the speed of light.
  • 8. W   ?

We knew that: The resulting dynamical system forms our theory of relativistic heat conduction. And now
We knew that:
The resulting dynamical system forms our theory of relativistic
heat conduction.
And now we want to:

Classical heat propagates infinitely fast. Faster than speed of light signals are not allowed by relativity. To solve the problem we:

Understood heat and temperature in a relativistic setting. Recognized that the entropy law holds in relativity. Interpreted entropy as a fluid interacting with matter in spacetime following relativistic dynamics.

Understand the disturbances in the temperature of the universe. Understand the transport mechanisms inside neutron stars. Compare our results with other theories. Match our work with microscopic physics. Answer Prof. Landsberg’s question.

References:

  • 1. Section 4 ”Does a moving body appear cool?”, Landsberg, P. T., Nature (214), pages 903-904, 1967.

  • 2. Section 6 ”Thermal dynamics on general relativity”, Lopez-Monsalvo, C. S. and Andersson, N., In preparation.

  • 3. Section 7 ”The relativistic two-stream instability” Samuelsson,L., Lopez-Monsalvo, C.S., Andersson, N. and Comer, G., General Relativity and Gravitation (42), pages 413-433, 2010.

Contact: cslm1x07@soton.ac.uk