Could a black hole be a source of energy? This answer arises from the discoveries that have recently emerged in the Universe.

In light of recent discoveries about black holes, the question has arisen, could a black hole be a source of energy?

The quick answer is: yes, the problem would be to nourish it regularly in order to obtain energy, but of that a little more below.

THE ENERGY OF SPACE SEEMS INFINITE

Space could be where the most powerful and nearly limitless reservoirs of energy are lurking. We still don’t know how to take advantage of it.

A team of scientists has been able, in at least one laboratory, to test a theory that sounded like pure science fiction. Someday it could mean a new frontier in how to harness the power of black holes.

“Low-frequency acoustic modes with orbital angular momentum are transmitted through an absorbent spinning disk and amplified by up to 30%,” said physicist Marion Cromb, who recently led a study published in Nature Physics.

He added, “These experiments address a pending problem in fundamental physics and have implications for future research on the extraction of energy from rotating systems.”

THE DOPPLER EFFECT

That sound amplification is the result of the rotational Doppler effect, as opposed to a linear Doppler effect, in which the frequency of a wave changes due to the relative speed between the observer and the source of the wave.

The rotational Doppler effect is the result of an increase or decrease in the wave frequency between a rotating object and the observer.

In this case, the sound waves produced by the Cromb team were sent to a rotating foam disc, and measuring them from this rotating surface revealed that they changed their pitch when measured from that surface because they had been twisted.

If the surface spins fast enough, it can warp sound waves to go from a positive to a negative frequency, and in fact harness the energy of surface rotation. But where did the possibility of achieving something like this come from?

COULD A BLACK HOLE BE A SOURCE OF ENERGY?

Physicist Roger Penrose came up with what probably sounded like a potential idea for the next sci-fi box office hit at the time.

What Penrose suggested was that the energy produced by a spinning black hole could be extracted, at least if you had a structure large and powerful enough to rotate at the same speed as the black hole.

His contemporary Yakov Zel’dovich discovered that a rotating object capable of absorbing energy could amplify electromagnetic waves and vacuum fluctuations as long as it had an angular momentum.

If a hypothetical object rotates on an axis, it has an angular momentum. Vacuum fluctuations or quantum fluctuations are temporary changes in the amount of energy present anywhere in space.

According to Stephen Hawking, black holes have a singularity and an inert core that can thermally create subatomic articles and send them into space. The emitted particles are Hawking radiation.

With no stellar matter to feed it, the black hole will drain its own energy until it completely evaporates.

The intense gravity of a black hole is believed to produce particles and their antiparticles just outside the event horizon, the black hole’s point of no return.

The positive particle could escape as thermal radiation while the negative particle falls into the singularity, never to return.

Photo: NASA
THE LABORATORY RESULTS

Hawking radiation has been shown to be at least theoretically feasible.

This is what ultimately led the Cromb team to try to capture similar energy produced with sound waves instead of light waves, and the inevitable evaporation without more energy also explains why you have to keep feeding the monster.

“Although wave amplification due to a rotating absorber is very difficult to verify with optical or electromagnetic waves, it is possible to make direct measurements using acoustic waves,” said Cromb.

“Similar concepts could in principle extend to electromagnetic waves, possibly thus extending our results to the amplification of electromagnetic modes of the quantum vacuum.”

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