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Is there any example of a transmission of energy in a medium that does not show wave nature?

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closed as not a real question by Frédéric Grosshans, mbq Dec 14 '10 at 15:34

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can you clarify what you mean by periodicity in the title? –  Sklivvz Nov 25 '10 at 8:35
    
@Sklivvz i mean wave like .... like we do not use peiodic functions –  Santosh Linkha Nov 25 '10 at 8:46
    
Weave nature is so broad that effectively means nothing; vote to close. –  mbq Nov 25 '10 at 9:24
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, for example heat energy is transferred through three different means:

Of course, according to the Standard Model, everything has wave-like properties, so in a way there's no escape from waves, but I believe that your question is best answered with classical phenomena.

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I meant that mechanical phenomenon (non electromagnetic) like ripples (and phonons) that transmit energy (but it shows wave like properties). I think Convection explains that (though that was quite not expected). And about conduction (I somewhere had seen that heat gradient during Fourier Analysis). Is conduction really not wave like? –  Santosh Linkha Nov 25 '10 at 8:55
    
I am not sure I understand your answer. By saying that Conduction and Convection are not wave-like, do you mean that the underlying mechanism that produces it (i.e. movement of atoms) is not wave-like? Or that you can't obtain heat/mass waves? Either way, it seems to me your answer is wrong. –  Marek Nov 25 '10 at 9:23
    
@Marek: I think Convection is not wave like because it is diffusion. Does energy transfers in wave like fashion in diffusion where particles itself transfers from one place to another without returning to its normal position. However, in conduction i am quite confused. –  Santosh Linkha Nov 25 '10 at 10:00
    
@explorex: my comment turned out a little longer than I expected, so I posted it as a separate answer. Let me know what you think. –  Marek Nov 25 '10 at 12:52
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Three basic kinds of energy transfer are usually mentioned. However I don't quite agree with Sklivvz's answer so here is my take on this issue.


I'll start with radiation because it is the most fundamental of the three and so most easily answered. It is governed by Maxwell equations which are equivalent to classical wave-equations. So all radiative effects are manifestly wave-like in nature. Nevertheless, it has to be mentioned that by using various optical materials one can obtain also dissipative solutions and lots of non-linear dispersive effects.

One could say that conduction doesn't have wave-like properties because it is governed by parabolic heat equation. However, this equation surely isn't correct because it allows for infinite speed of propagation. There exists also relativistic heat equation which admits wave-like solutions (as one would expect for any relativistic system).

As for convection, this is usually governed by some kind of fluid equation from continuum mechanics (like Navier-Stokes) and I suppose that also here one could easily obtain wave-like solution (for specific system and initial conditions).

Now to give an answer to your question: yes, there exist many situations where energy is transferred in a non-wave-like fashion (like exponential decay) but I believe it's not correct to say that any kind of above three energy transfers is or isn't wave-like in general. It depends on precise situation one is dealing with and the level of approximation one is using (like taking relativity into account).

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i do agree with you in case of conduction takes place in wave like fashion. But in case of convection, the medium itself is moving and according to debrogile hypothesis evey thing acts like wave and particle. Of course it satisfies wave proterty(is some way) but since the medium itself is moving, this does not qualify the criteria of my question. My belief is that if energy is transmitted through a medium as a wave so i was testing if my belief was right or wrong. However, i need some time to confirm that since you are not explicit in your last paragraph. –  Santosh Linkha Nov 26 '10 at 5:30
    
@explorex: in that case I am not really sure what do you want. Quantum properties are irrelevant because the meaning of wave (i.e. wave-function) is completely different from meaning of waves in classical physics. This is because quantum waves can very well behave like classical particles in certain regimes. So if you include quantum theory in your question then it's too trivial: everything is wave-like, because quantum theory is. As for the convection: I am again not sure what do you mean and your original question doesn't specify anything about whether or not the medium itself should move. –  Marek Nov 26 '10 at 10:17
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