I asked this on the worldbuilding stackexchange but realise it may just be a straight physics question. My understanding of wormholes consists basically of an extrapolation of the way I understand a flatlander's experience of the following illustration of an Ellis wormhole:

ellis wormhole image

Right now, there are the following specific questions that I am not sure about whether my interpretation is correct:

  1. Am I correct that there is a "aperture" width at the narrow part of the throat of the wormhole? And that a ship that was too big yet forced itself through would essentially fill the entire throat up, thereby "looping around" in this non-Euclidean deformed space within the wormhole and bump into ITSELF, crushing itself?
  2. Am I correct that objects of sufficient hardness (ie. lack of elasticity) would crack/pulverize when forced through a wormhole due to the curvature of the space?
  3. If so, would they "resist" going into space with increased curvature before they do? As in, would a diamond inside a ship passing through a heavily curved wormhole (seem to) respond to some force that stopped it from moving further without cracking? Ie. the diamond would start moving towards the back of the ship as the curvature of space pushed back against it harder than it did against the softer materials of the ship.
  • $\begingroup$ You do know that ideas about wormholes and associated effects (I am not not referring to your post), are completely and utterly hypothetical and that although we have tested, (and verified) the "easier" ramifications of a magnificent theory, GR, that any proof of anything within the event horizon is completely lacking, as are, to the best of my knowledge, any realistic plans to obtain such proof? $\endgroup$
    – user108787
    Oct 27 '16 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ 1. I do know that wormholes are, as of yet, hypotheticals. 2. I am not asking "is the hypothetical real?", I am asking "am I interpreting the hypothetical correctly?". 3. What event horizon do you mean? I thought that was a black hole thing, not a wormhole thing? $\endgroup$
    – Vaesper
    Oct 27 '16 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ And I thought incorrectly. that an event horizon was always associated with wormholes, because I thought, possibly again incorrectly that wormholes are/ well ........might be :) a form of singularity. With these assumptions. I went straight from a to z, without stopping to think. So my sincere apologies for that. I will check my facts in future, sorry. $\endgroup$
    – user108787
    Oct 27 '16 at 12:34

Question 1 Answer: Lets assume that your included diagram is an accurate example of how a wormhole would function. What you must realize when studying this model, is that it does NOT represent a wormhole in three dimensional space, but two dimensional space. So when you imagine a ship flying through this wormhole, you have to imagine a two dimensional ship, completely flat like paper, that can ONLY fly WITHIN the yellow surface. The yellow surface IS its universe, and it cannot leave.

In simpler terms, get some paper and draw a ship larger than the hole, cut it out, and slide it along the yellow surface. All parts of the drawn ship must always stay in contact with the yellow surface. Imagine trying to slide this paper ship through the hole. If the ship is slightly larger than the hole, and the paper is flexible enough, the nose of the ship will slide through the hole, but the top of the ship will wrap around to hit the bottom of the ship.

The nose (front) of the ship would never touch the tail (back), it would curl sort of like a hot dog, and the top and bottom would but up against each other. If the ship was going very slow, it would simply not be able to pass through, but if it was going very fast, it could catastrophically damage itself.

Now if we forward this example onto three dimensional space, things get kind of cool. Imagine you have a football-shaped ship, that is slightly larger than a wormhole. As it attempts to pass through, the tip would go through, but it would get stuck, and this is the cool part. Not only would the top of the football butt up against the bottom, but simultaneously the left would hit the right, the top-right would hit the bottom-left, the bottom-right would hit the top left. The entire ring of the football would touch itself on all sides simultaneously! (Assuming the cut-out shape of the football was perfectly circular, and the 'shape' of the wormhole was perfectly 'circular')

Now I started this answer extremely intrigued by your second and third questions, but not having any answer in mind. But as I typed that first answer, I think I figured it out! If anyone knows more about questions 2 and 3, or has any corrections for me, I would LOVE to know!

Tentative Question 2 Answer: You are almost correct in your thought process of space-time curvature and how it affects materials. If a curvature in 2D space bends the 2D object through the third spacial dimension (as in your model), then a curvature in 3D space will bend the object through the fourth spacial dimension. This is fascinating, since we cannot observe the fourth spacial dimension, and we know that space-time curvature manifests as gravitational effects on objects, then it seems to suggest that bending a 3D object through a fourth spacial dimension would be equivalent to subjecting it to an acceleration. Thus our observation of gravitational effects is simply how we interpret objects bending through 4D space.

So to answer your question, the material might very well be cracked or pulverized by too much 4D 'bending', just as a very large variation in acceleration (as near a black hole) could rip an object apart!

Tentative Question 3 Answer: Given the conclusions set forth in the previous answer, I believe this 'resistance' to 4D spacial bending is what we observe and commonly know as 'inertia', which is defined as a resistance to a change in velocity. Which can be called a resistance to the effects of acceleration, or, a resistance to gravitational effects, or, a resistance to 4D 'bending'.

Since you asked this on a world building stack exchange, I am going to assume you are writing a book or something of that nature. Might I suggest that you subtly allude to that fact that whatever mechanism creates wormholes in your world 'shapes' the wormholes so that there exists a path through it that avoids any sharp curvatures, thereby bypassing the problem of extreme gravitational effects ripping objects apart near sharp space-time curvatures.

  • $\begingroup$ Answer 1 seems to match exactly my interpretation of it, although you do a better job of explaining it and are making the 2D vs 3D more explicit. In answer 2 and 3 I am a bit confused about the difference between gravitational bending and "wormhole bending". The definition of an Ellis wormhole says it is a special case of the Ellis drainhole without gravitational pull. And finally, it's for an RPG setting I'm building for some friends and I want plausible FTL. I am making the simplifying assumption that the curvature of the space is determined by the distance from the centre of the throat. $\endgroup$
    – Vaesper
    Oct 27 '16 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't claimed any gravitational bending. I related gravitational effects to 4D spacial bending. If wormholes can exist, then they bend our 3D space through 4D space. It is nearly impossible to visualize :-P I will have to research Ellis wormholes, but my answers all operate under the assumption that a curvature in space-time IS gravity, and they cannot be separated as they are the same thing. So my answer doesn't allow for the Ellis drainhole without gravitational pull. $\endgroup$ Oct 27 '16 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ If you want believable FTL, then I would go with a ship that creates space behind it, and destroys space in front of it. This has been theoretically postulated and proven to allow for FTL, but we cannot achieve it yet because it would require a VERY high output of power. Much more than even a power plant is capable of producing. I can't remember where I saw it though :-/. And since you will be cruising around space at multiple times the speed of light, you should have a room filled with anti-matter, and spray it in front of you, so a stray pebble doesn't rip your ship apart! $\endgroup$ Oct 27 '16 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ I think you might be talking about the Alcubierre drive. And I am exploring different potential forms of FTL and how they would act differently in the context of economics, politics, etc. A system of technologically stabilized wormholes might be more feasible in the context of mass transport, as it would not require ships to have their own individual FTL drives, and would allow for border control etc. For your fleet of warships you will want to be able to jump from anywhere to anywhere though, so an FTL drive might be desirable for warfare. $\endgroup$
    – Vaesper
    Oct 27 '16 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like an RPG I want to play. Nice research. $\endgroup$ Oct 28 '16 at 13:46

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