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A simple model for studying the gravitationally induced electric field inside a metal Shegelski, Mark Raymond Alphonse


If a metal object is placed in a gravitational field, .the nuclei and electrons in the metal will sink. This will produce a new charge distribution inside the metal. A modified charge distribution implies a modified electric field in the metal interior. This thesis investigates some possible physical processes which give rise to the gravitationally induced electric field inside a metal. To this end, a simple model of a metal is constructed. Comprising the model are ions, arranged on a differentially compressed lattice, and a gas of conduction electrons. An ion is represented by a nucleus and an electron which are confined together inside a hard, massless, spherical shell. The nucleus is treated as a point particle while the electron is represented by a wave function. The conduction electron constituent is modelled as a gas of non-interacting fermions which is subject to an external linear potential, The design of the model facilitates the investigation of two possible sources of the electric field: gravitationally induced ionic dipole moments, and the charge imbalance in the metal. To first order in g, only the first source matters, contributing approximately –Mg/q[sub=e] to the electric field, where M is the ionic mass, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and q[sub=e] is the electronic charge. The net gravitationally induced electric field is also found to be approximately -Mg/q[sub=e],

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