Do spent batteries have less mass?

Blog 20161207

In response to my Blog on "Does Energy Have Mass?," Ben Gingrich asks:

“Do fresh batteries have more mass than spent ones?”

[GB: Yes.]


“Is a battery lighter after it has been used?”

[GB: Yes.]

Ben then asks:

“If so, would this demonstrate our theory that energy (at least in some forms) has mass?”

[GB: No.]

Ben then asks:

“I don't know the details of how a battery works, but it would seem a way to test the idea, no?”

[GB: No. It would not be a test of the “theory that energy has mass.” Instead, it would be a test of the E=mc2 equation and its proper interpretation.[1] The gist of the previous Blog was that energy does not exist; it is a calculation. So, energy does not have mass.

Energy is neither matter nor the motion of matter. Energy is a matter-motion term. When ordinary matter is involved in the exchange of motion we use the matter-motion equation for kinetic energy KE=1/2 mv2. When EM (electromagnetic) radiation is involved we use the bi-directional matter-motion equation E=mc2. This appears very difficult for folks to understand, so I will go through it once again.

First of all, you need to know the definition of mass, which is “resistance to acceleration.” In a gravitational field, of course, we can measure this as being correlative with weight. Indeed Ben, you are right that a discharged battery would weigh less than a charged battery. But again, remember that mass is not matter; mass is a measurement of matter.

Second of all, you need to understand the meaning of the E=mc2 equation[2], which we use in neomechanics for describing the emission of motion per Figure 1:

Figure 1. Neomechanical interactions demonstrating the absorption and emission of motion.[3]

This cartoon essentially shows that the internal motion of the microcosm (battery in this case) slows as a result of the exothermic chemical reactions that result in the transfer of some of this motion to the macrocosm (the light bulb in this case). When the internal submicrocosms slow down, they present less resistance to acceleration. In his book, “Relativity for the million,” the relativist Martin Gardner wrote “As the coffee cools, mass is lost.”[4] This is close, but no cigar. It is typical of the regressive view of what the E=mc2 equation signifies. Thus the statement is only partially correct. Mass is not “lost”; mass decreases.

In the regressive vein, the use of the word “lost” implies that mass is a thing that magically turns into another thing, energy, which in this case supposedly flits magically throughout the universe as matterless motion. The correct statement is “As the coffee cools, mass decreases.” The submicrocosms that constitute the “guts” of the microcosm still exist after part of their motion has been transferred across the microcosmic boundary to accelerate supermicrocosms in the macrocosm (environment) (Figure 1). Because those submicrocosms then have less motion, their momenta (P=mv) are reduced, causing the microcosm to have less resistance to acceleration. They impact the internal wall of the microcosm with less force, which otherwise would better counteract and “resist” the force we would use to measure the mass of the microcosm.

In my forthcoming book on Infinite Universe Theory, I explain it with this example apropos to the season:

"Suppose that an entire football team forms a densely packed circle. Remember mass is simply a measurement: the resistance to acceleration. Now, suppose that another football team tries to test the resistance to acceleration of the first team by trying to push it over. They might be able to do it, probably by running at the stationary team and colliding with it. Next, let us have the first team display a little internal motion, with fists and feet flying in all directions. Now, the second team will have to run and push a little harder, because the first team will be less of a pushover. In other words, some of the force (F=ma) produced by the second team will be diminished by the hitting (F=ma) produced by the first. The mass of the first team has increased because its resistance to acceleration has increased. The second team will have to push even harder to push the more active team over."


Note that in neomechanics each microcosm is surrounded by an infinite number of supermicrocosms. In the case of a battery undergoing discharge as the result of an exothermic chemical reaction, some of the supermicrocosms could be the nitrogen or aether in the atmosphere.

The absorption of motion produces the opposite effect (Figure 1), increasing the mass of the battery along with its charge. This principle is now being used to charge cell phones and other devices with the application of infrared radiation (https://www.cnet.com/news/wi-charge-willcharge-all-your-devices-at-once-using-infrared-light-hands-on/). It also is the same principle involved when plants absorb light during photosynthesis.

Remember that all these changes in mass are miniscule and that the amount of matter before and after always remains the same per the Fifth Assumption of Science, conservation (Matter and the motion of matter can be neither created nor destroyed). Above all, the changes merely involve the transfer of motion from one thing to another.]

[1] Note that the test would be complicated by the far greater non-electrochemical production of heat such as that produced by electrical resistance, etc.

[2] Borchardt, Glenn, 2009, The physical meaning of E=mc2, Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance: Storrs, CN, v. 6, no. 1, p. 27-31 [http://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.1.2387.4643].

[3] Borchardt, Glenn, 2007, The Scientific Worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 411 p. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/].

[4] Gardner, Martin, 1962, Relativity for the million: New York, Macmillan, p. 66.

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