Scientists have studied the conditions under which Newton’s third law does not work

Russian scientists from the Joint Institute for High Temperatures (JIHT) of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Laboratory of Active Media and Systems of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, together with their American colleagues, investigated a system of interacting particles for which Newton’s third law is not formally fulfilled.

Newton’s third law, which everyone remembers from the school curriculum, states that the force of action is equal to the force of reaction. However, for some open and nonequilibrium disperse systems – particles in a medium – the symmetry of the effective interparticle interaction force can be violated, and very interesting physics arises: for example, particles self-organize into complex structures, the system heats up abnormally, and unusual nonequilibrium phase transitions appear.

Evgeny Lisin, Head of the Laboratory for Dust Plasma Diagnostics, JIHT

For the first time, a system with asymmetric particle interactions was obtained in the late 1990s in Germany. But since then, in spite of the prepared theoretical basis, one of the important unsolved problems has been a direct experimental study of the features of asymmetric interaction between particles.

Previously, it was not possible to accurately measure the force of interparticle interaction and determine the degree of symmetry breaking depending on the environmental conditions, the press service noted.

The solution to this problem became possible thanks to the original spectral measurement method: it was developed by Russian specialists.

This line of research can also be interesting in the context of the development of new materials with a “programmable” response to mechanical stresses, magnetic and thermal fields.

There are also promising applications related to the separation of substances, collective targeted delivery of micro-cargo (for example, drugs) and the transformation of mechanical energy of chaotic motion, the press service noted.

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