The Casimir effect describes the attraction of two uncharged metal plates at a quantized distance as the result of the presence of fluctuating electromagnetic waves of varying wavelengths. Since these plates are so close only certain shorter wavelengths can be present between the plates resulting in the total energy outside the plates to be higher than inside the plates, causing them to attract. By creating an analog of this effect, we hope to develop a model or simulation which may provide insight to the effect itself. This is done be placing to metal plates close to each other in a tank of glass beads. This tank is then hooked up to an oscillatory driving force which when combined with the glass beads simulates the electromagnetic waves around and between the plates. By having the plates at a close distance from each other, there will be fewer fluctuating beads between them then around them causing them to attract. Preliminary results show us that for certain amplitudes and initial distances, our plates do attract and by filming this experiment at a high speed and using an IDL program with a Hough Transform to analyze the data, we can track the distance between these plates.

Additional Abstract Information

Student(s): George Wilkes

Department: Physics and Astronomy

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Brian C. Utter

Type: Poster

Year: 2015

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