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Lyon

90% sarcastic

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8th July 2003

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#11 15 years ago

The blade of a lightsaber is supposed to be weight-less.




young Obi-Wan

I pretend I'm cooler than AzH

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17th October 2002

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#12 15 years ago

... I'll repeat again: the blade itself is physically weightless, but it is heavy or the user. --> gyroscopic effect :uhm:




CorT VIP Member

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2nd April 2003

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#13 15 years ago

[color=red]...ok, that makes sense, obi. but...wtc is 'gyroscopic effect'?

:\[/color]




young Obi-Wan

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17th October 2002

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#14 15 years ago

an effect caused by the immense power of a lightsaber blade :p remember, technologically, SW-ppl r developed way higher than us now. no need to understand every scientific issue.




Da-Ko

I am a Jedi Enforcer!

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9th February 2004

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#15 15 years ago

ok mabey the blade has weight,ive bin meditating on how to build a lightsaber and here it is. You see the blade will be made of plasma. The problem is how to get energy to heat some hydrogen isitopes to about 50,000,000 degrees kelvin. It could be done with a large generating plant but not easily done inside the hilt of the lightsaber. I think we could build a fushion reactor inside the hilt. The plasma from the reactor could be formed into a blade with some sort of elctromagnetic coils system. OR My nagging tendency to bring up pesky issues like the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Einstein’s theory of relativity and his “principal of equivalence,” and his treatment of the “phenomenon of gravitation as a consequence of the geometric properties of space-time,” and to demonstrate how these principals might have a negative impact on certain (actually, all) claims of paranormal activity, has ticked off more than a few fellow Jedi recently.

So I thought it might be a fun change to see if advances in the field of quantum mechanics coupled with developments in lasers and theories on nuclear fusion might make it possible (at least theoretically) to build a working Lightsaber; more or less with the properties demonstrated in the Star Wars movies.

The answer appears to be “yes, BUT...” and that big but means don’t go rushing off to Radio Shack to start buying parts just yet. (However, in this column I will give you the design specs for two lightsabers you can build now -- one a weapon and one for show, although neither will be as elaborate as the theoretical lightsaber we’re going to discuss next.)

Remember, what I’ll describe here is based upon technology that currently exists PLUS some that can logically be expected from future development -- but isn’t all here just yet. Also, I’ll be careful to suggest nothing that violates any known laws of physics, gravitation, thermodynamics, etc. (Sorry, it’s just a quirk of mine!)

Let’s define Lightsaber as a defensive weapon approximately four feet long, composed of a one-foot handle containing power source, “light”-generating apparatus and controls, and a three-foot extending and retracting “blade” composed of some sort of very narrow light wave possessing intense cutting power. Let’s also say the unit has to be self-contained: No 70-pound battery packs or extension cords.

Light is both a particle and a wave, and has zero mass. Like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps “going and going...” unless stopped by something solid, trapped in a Black Hole, or deflected as it passes through a gravitational field -- which astrophysicists call a gravitational lens. Otherwise, light goes on forever, which is why we can see so far into the universe (and so far back in time -- but that’s a topic for another discussion).

So what does that last paragraph have to do with our lightsaber? Actually, quite a bit. In each movie, lightsabers appear to be “solid” light from haft to tip -- they don’t have a metal core or solid non-light tip. In Episode One, this is demonstrated when Qui-Gon shoves his lightsaber through a blast door in order to burn a hole in it. That’s an important design distinction, and has considerable ramifications for our lightsaber, as we’ll see.

Since light “just keeps on going,” as we explained earlier, a “pure-light” weapon demonstrating the capabilities of Qui-Gon’s weapon probably is beyond our capabilities (at this time, anyway). Why? Well, consider this: There’s currently no way to “tell” our blade we want it to stop three feet from where it started. In other words, since light travels at 186,000 miles per second, roughly six seconds after you turn on your lightsaber it will be one million miles long!

Since light is massless (remember?), this doesn’t pose any serious problems for you in handling your weapon... but unless you are VERY, VERY careful, there exists a lot of potential to really piss off the neighbors! (Not to mention posing a threat to airplanes, spaceships and anybody standing between you and the visible horizon.)

Of course, since even the most highly concentrated light we can produce today does begin to diffuse (spread out) over distance, you shouldn’t be a threat to anyone living on other planets. By the time it arrived on the moon, the light from your lightsaber would be about the size of a dinner plate, and while still cool to look at, wouldn’t burn any holes in anyone.

So, is there any way in physics or quantum mechanics we can have a “pure light” blade and keep the distance at three feet? For a brief instant, I actually thought I’d found the solution. And this brings us to “how to generate the light blade.”

An obvious choice would be a laser, specifically a “high-power, short-pulse laser.” A laser (Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) amplifies electromagnetic waves and certainly seems to be the best current source for generating our blade. While conventional light sources are “hot bodies” which radiate incoherent light by spontaneous emission, lasers create a focused beam, or plane wave, which is narrow and tight -- and under the right circumstances can possess the “intense cutting power” called for by our definition of a lightsaber.




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2nd April 2003

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#16 15 years ago

[color=red]wow.....just...wow.........

be sure to tell us if you get anywhere on this. good luck.

but, whats your oppinion on it's wieght?[/color]




young Obi-Wan

I pretend I'm cooler than AzH

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17th October 2002

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#17 15 years ago

and about the gyroscopic effect? :)




Kerian VIP Member

tensa Zangetsu

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31st December 2032

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#18 15 years ago

IMO there is no evidence that "energy" would create a gyroscopic effect. that is caused by things spinning so unless your engergy blade spins on an axis it wont have a gyroscopic influence. (a use of a gyroscopic force is on your bike its what makes you bike stay upright and go in a straight line. it gets more intense the faster you go so you have to do more to turn)

IMO it may weigh a few Kg guess 3 mabey it quite probably has a high density of components and such.




young Obi-Wan

I pretend I'm cooler than AzH

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17th October 2002

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#19 15 years ago

it's not exactly the gyroscopic effect we have here, not the completely physical one, but a comparative power caused by the energy... *searches for exact explanation*




Da-Ko

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9th February 2004

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#20 15 years ago

Light is both a particle and a wave, and has zero mass. So I think the blade would be waitless.