Member # 1713
posted 09. August 2005 08:26
In considering types of complexity, there are two particularly fascinating objects that basically have no moving parts, yet produce an intentionally crafted output.
One is the Vortex Tube, with a nice animation at
and the other is the Cavity Magnetron, with at least a diagram at
In the vortex tube - a block of metal with shaped groves and holes and no moving parts, compressed air is injected and separated into hot air, which comes out one end, and cold air that comes out the other. These are commercially sold for industrial cooling and actually work.
The cavity magnetron (key to microwave ovens, radar, etc.) is hard to find a good diagram. It consists of a block of copper with various holes
(cavities) cut into it. It has a fixed electric field between a central element and the rest of it, and a fixed magnetic field aligned crosswise to that. Electrons leave the central filament, and interact with each other in such as way as to generate microwaves of a pre-designed frequency. There are no moving parts, no amplifiers, and the electrons only interact with each other and fixed walls.
These are, to me, fascinating. Air interacts with air, separating hot from cold. Electrons interact with electrons, generating desired microwaves. The only "control" exerted on these processes is the fixed shape of the context in which the rest of the events occur.
Intelligently designed? You bet.
Is any micro-intervention visible of the designer in the micro-interactions between molecules or electrons? Hmm. Probably it all falls out of the equations as "negligible terms", yet, these are precisely what add up to the designed and intended outcome.
Interesting test cases.