Background about me: I know nothing about physics.

It occurred to me to ask the following question: Imagine a small amount of some element placed in centrifuge device that spins with very fast speed. Rotation generates centrifuge force. Could there be a centrifuge force enough to pull electron(s) off the element atoms? In my mind, the centrifuge force should have some effect on the electrons orbiting around the nucleus at least?


1 Answer 1


Difficult. But yes, there are some effects. Of course, how do you hold onto or push an atom unless you're using electrons?

If you spun it hard enough to remove all the electrons, then the material would disintegrate and there's nothing left to push.

But mobile electrons/charges are affected by inertia. See Stewart-Tolman effect

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    $\begingroup$ Electrons are quantum mechanically bound .Even the mobile electrons you refer to in the link, they are quantum mechanically bound in the lattice. To free an electron there should be a photon with enough energy to dislodge it of the binding. I suppose the effect in the link given enough rotation energy would generate photons that might interact with the lattice and expel electrons, but I do not see the material disintegrating. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Oct 6, 2022 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ @annav, thanks for the note. $\endgroup$
    – NoChance
    Oct 6, 2022 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ @BowlOfRed, thanks for the answer. $\endgroup$
    – NoChance
    Oct 6, 2022 at 23:26

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