Monday, June 7, 2010

Light Mill Applet - Greg Egan

"The applet below is a very simple toy model that might be useful for exploring some aspects of the “Light Mill” or “Crookes Radiometer”, which was once thought to rotate due to radiation pressure. It's now known that thermal effects associated with residual gas drive the rotation, but the details remain somewhat contentious, as discussed in this thread on the n-Category Café. Some results obtained with this applet are collected on on this companion page.

This applet performs a very simple, two-dimensional particle-based simulation; it certainly does not come remotely close to capturing the actual physics of the real device. The units of distance are such that the outer radius of the container is 1; the units of time and mass are arbitrary."

4 out of 5

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