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Q & A: Do particles of fractional charge exist?

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Most recent answer: 05/11/2016
Q:
Is it possible there exists matter with electrical charges of other than + and -? If such matter does exist, would the electromagnetic radiation be affected?The reason for the question is that since we are made of matter with + and - charges, we would not be able to detect matter having other charges if they neither attract or repel + and - charges. The only way we would be able to detect that other (exotic) matter would be by its gravitational affect.If there is no reason exotic matter cannot exist, then it may. If it does, then possibly we would observe only part of the existing universe. Would a black hole of exotic matter be detectable by any means other than its gravity? An explanation for dark matter?A related question: Can gravity be only attractive? Were matter to exist that possesses repulsive gravity, whether of normal or exotic matter, it could form particles only until the gravitational force exceeds the magnitude of the nuclear forces. One could make assumptions on the gravitational force and calculate the maximum particle size of such matter. If, at creation (the Big Bang) normal matter, exotic matter (with possibly several types of electrical charges), matter with attractive gravity, and matter with repulsive gravity, and all the anti-matter associated with the above were formed, what would the effect have been. My understanding is that in the beginning and for some time thereafter, only energy existed and, until the universe expanded and cooled could particles form. If all the particles mentioned above did form, what are the implications for the formation of the early universe? Assuming that universe could have survived, what are the implications for the eventual development, say 13.7 billion years later, of the universe?It would seem that initially the density of matter with repulsive gravity would have caused space to expand rapidly since the repulsive force would have been very concentrated. Over time, the force would decrease by the square of the distance between particles but would never reach zero therefore causing the rate of expansion of space to continually increase at a decreasing rate. Dark Energy? Possibly the particles formed are not large enough to radiate and possibly they are of exotic matter whose radiation we cannot detect. I am just looking for one knowledgeable enough to provide a "sanity check". Working backward from my limited understanding of physics to explain dark matter and dark energy has caused these questions. I have heard that any
- Tony Walker (age 72)
37615
A:

Hello Tony,

I'll answer just two of your questions.   There have been many experiments searching for fractional charge but so far none have shown up.   There is a theory, namely the quark theory, that is consistent with charged 1/3 and 2/3 particles.   Again, no free quarks have ever been seen.

If charged quarks existed they very likely would behave electrically just like electrons and protons, radiating when accelerated, having magnetic fields when moving etc.

LeeH

 

I read your first question as asking about some altogether different type of charge, not on the same number line as electrical charge. The answer to that is yes: we call one type of such "charge" the source of the chromodynamic force between quarks.  The point is that there are several types of forces. We give different names to different ones. If we find other forces beyond the ones that we know about (the combined electroweak force, the QCD force, and the gravitational pseudo-force) then we'll need new names, and will try to integrate them into the same mathematical framework as the others.

With respect to repulsive gravity, the basic form of the theory (we're told) only allows for attractive "forces" between ordinary masses. If there some fixed mass density if "empty" space, however, exactly the same theory predicts an exponentially growing expansion of space, driven by a repulsive sort of effect. That appears to be going on now. There's good evidence that in the very early universe a similar inflation occurred, but much faster. That would have required a much higher energy density of empty space. Alternative explanations of that evidence do exist, and sorting this question out is an exciting research topic.

Mike W.


(published on 05/11/2016)

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