A z-pinch (wikipedia) is a very real plasma phenomenon, a consequence of one of the instability modes of a plasma stream. In this mode, the magnetic field generated by the stream generates forces back on the stream which constricts the plasma flow, sometimes generating significant pressures. The process has been studied extensively in controlled fusion studies.
Now let me present a brief description of the Thornhill Z-pinch solar model. The basic idea is that the Sun is located at the constriction (Z-pinch) of one of these cosmic current streams that are always invoked but for some reason undetectable, according to Electric Universe 'theology'.
Note that this model is RADICALLY different current configuration from the Scott/Juergen's solar model which has the electron current flowing in from all directions to the Sun (see Death by Electric Universe. II. The Solar Capacitor Model).
Now as every competent electrical engineer knows, a current will create a magnetic field. EUers try to push this claim all the time (see Electric Universe: Peer Review Exercise 3: Article Reviewed: "Electric Currents Key to Magnetic Phenomena" by Donald E. Scott), usually forgetting the other electromagnetic characteristics which can also contribute to a magnetic field. For now, we'll ignore the displacement current term, using the Maxwell equation
In most cases, we ignore the last term, called the displacement current, but I've added an exploration of the displacement current implications for a Z-pinch electric sun model to my 'to do' list.
This equation gives us a relationship between the current passing through a element of surface area, dA, and the magnetic field measured at the boundary of the surface. The surface and its boundary are quite arbitrary, so we can choose a circular area which has a simple boundary and area. Also, the result depends only on the total current passing through the surface of interest. It doesn't matter if the current is one large current stream or hundreds of filamentary currents - the law only depends on the total current that passes through the surface.
The cool thing about Maxwell's equations is that once you define the distribution of charges and currents in your region, you define the electric and magnetic fields in that region as well , and vice versa.
This fact is ignored by EU supporters all the time - they fill the universe with current streams and charge excesses, but never actually compute the magnetic and electric fields these distributions would create! As shown in this blog and elsewhere, computation of these fields show severe mismatches with observations and in situ measurements!
We can solve the Maxwell equation above to determine the magnetic field at a distance, r, from the axis of the current, I. We can also write the equation in terms of the luminosity of the star, L.
This result was also demonstrated in Electric Cosmos: The Solar Resistor Model.
In the equation above, note the term in parenthesis. The luminosity, L, of the star is energy per unit time, and is divided by the average kinetic energy per electron, Ek. This gives the number of electrons per time passing through the region. Multiplying this by the charge, q, per electron gives the current. It is a very simple, and robust, result. It is also important to note that
- this equation would be the minimum magnetic field produced by such a Z-pinch powered 'Electric Star'. The equation above assumes that ALL the energy, L, goes into powering the star and none makes it out the other side to power more distant stars. Therefore,
- in reality, any realistic star in this model would need a much larger value of L and therefore have a much larger magnetic field than what we will explore next.
|Mimimum magnetic field for a Thornhill Z-pinch powered star with several choices of luminosity, L. Average electron kinetic energy is 511keV. The vertical blue dashed line marks the magnetic field value at 1 Astronomical Unit from the Sun.|
We see that for electrons with an average kinetic energy of 511keV, the Sun's magnetic field at the orbit of Earth is about 5 Tesla, far larger than the measured value of a few nano-teslas (a billionth of a tesla). You can see near-real time values of the Solar magnetic field near Earth posted in the sidebar at SpaceWeather.com.
Beyond the incredible large magnitude (and direction) of the magnetic field compared to the actual measured field, there are addition implications of this Z-pinch magnetic field for space flight.
What Happens when a Conductor Moves Through a Magnetic Field?
By Faraday's Law of Induction, an electric field is induced around the boundary of a surface moving through a magnetic field, a net electromotive force. This is how a generator or dynamo works, using mechanical energy to move a conductor through a magnetic field to generate a voltage and current.
So what happens when our satellite (represented by the red ellipse around the star in the graphic above), which contains some conductive components, moves through the magnetic field generated by this solar Z-pinch?
To get an idea of the magnitude of this voltage for a satellite, for simplicity, we'll consider a square electrical circuit on a satellite, of length, L, on each side, and plug them into Faraday's law above. It might be an actual electrical circuit inside the satellite delivering power to internal components, or it might simply be a complete circuit of conducting material that is part of the satellite chassis. The area enclosed by the circuit, dA, is L*L. The length of the boundary, dl, is 4*L. If the circuit is moving at a speed, v, through the magnetic field, then it sweeps through an area of L*v per time. Moving through a uniform magnetic field, B, then the induced EMF, the voltage induced around the circuit of length 4*L, is
Since we've assumed a uniform induced electric field, E, and applied magnetic field, B, our integrals in Maxwell's equations become simple products. Using our approximation above, we can get some 'back-of-the-envelope' rough numbers. We need to estimate some input values for the equations:
- Our satellite is traveling at a speed reasonable for a solar orbiter, say 40 km/s = 4e4 m/s
- Let our satellite be about a meter across, say L=1 m
- And the magnetic field created by our Z-pinch, at a distance from the Sun of 1 Astronomical Unit (AU), per analysis above, is about 5 Tesla (Wikipedia: Tesla)
This is a pretty hefty voltage to get induced on your satellite. Definitely enough to fry most modern satellite electronics. Note that this would be the current induced whenever the satellite moves through the REGULAR solar magnetic field. This would not be an occasional event, but would happen all the time. While transient energetic solar events can fry satellites, these are not events created by a sun-powering z-pinch advocated by Thornhill.
If the Sun were powered by Thornhill's Z-pinch, the induced current would most certainly fry most any solar-orbiting satellite. The impact of this induced current on a mission with a human crew is particularly problematic.
Due to the nature of the velocity with respect to the magnetic field, this effect would be a minimum for a circular orbit, but become more of a problem for elliptical orbits. Satellites tracing along most planetary orbits would not see as strong an induced current, but any satellite with a large radial velocity component with respect to the Sun would experience this induced current - so this would be a problem for any interplanetary mission moving between planetary orbits.
Needless to say, in now fifty years of interplanetary travel, we've seen no evidence of this kind of effect induced on satellites.
EU Theorists Flunk Maxwell's Equations Yet Again
The really cool prediction of the Z-pinch solar model is that we could power many spacecraft by allowing the spacecraft carry coils through the solar magnetic field. If the Z-pinch model were really valid, this would be a very efficient way to generate onboard power for a satellite.
Another possibility that I haven't fully investigated yet is that this induced current might actually allow one to maneuver the spacecraft. The current induced in the spacecraft circuit generates a magnetic field around the satellite, and creates a force within the field of the Z-pinch. It might be interesting to explore possible spacecraft maneuvering that might be accomplished by this interaction.
Of course, all these fascinating possible applications are irrevelant as the star-powering Z-pinch current is a total fiction.