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Q & A: Is there mass associated with information transfer?

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Most recent answer: 05/15/2014
Q:
When i transfer files over my wireless network, do these files have a mass whilst they are travelling wirelessly from computer to router, and if they do does the mass increase the larger the files?
- james (age 36)
UK
A:

Hello James,

To first order, i.e. in the non-relativistic approximation,  the answer is no.   However the information is carried by modulation of electro-magnetic waves.   These waves have an energy density therefore, ala Einstein, have an 'effective' mass of  m = E/c2.    It is hardly measurable but it is there.   A longer message will take a longer time to transmit therefore the total "mass" transferred will be proportionally more. 

 

LeeH


(published on 05/15/2014)

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