MadSci Network: Physics


Date: Wed Oct 6 23:17:30 1999
Posted By: Richard Bersin, Other (pls. specify below), Senior Technical Staff Member, Emergent Technologies
Area of science: Physics
ID: 936786500.Ph

Dear G. M. Saxena:
Light and sound waves do exert pressure. How do we observe this pressure?
It is by the momentum transfer from the quanta of light; or the momentum 
transfer from collisions with impinging molecules of air with sound waves. 
Molecules of matter have both wave and particle properties, and these 
particles (or wavelets if you wish to call them that) simply exert their 
pressure by momentum transfer when they make a collision.

Remember light also has wave and particle behaviour;  a quanta of light 
(which is also a little wavelet) exerts pressure by momentum transfer in a 
collision, as with a gamma ray colliting with an electron and making the 
electron move. (This is the Compton Effect).  

Radiation pressure is really the momentum transfer from collisions with 

I hope this is clear to you.

R. Bersin..  

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