Gravity Explained as an Electromagnetic Force Mechanism

Last update:  24 November 2022.

Informal synopsis:

I propose a rather simple electromagnetic mechanism to explain gravity.  This is only a narrative by an untrained amateur, but if serious physicists find it compelling perhaps further study and attempts to forge a solid mathematical framework and experimental testing would be warranted.  I'll refine and add detail when opportunities arise since even the best insights languish unless clearly and compellingly articulated.  (And of course poorly conceived concepts, of which this might be one, are most easily dismissed when clearly articulated.)

I use the term packet instead of elementary particle or particle, and occasionally abbreviate electromagnetic as em.  And I limit my discussion to Baryonic atoms in many cases to minimize rhetorical distraction, but I suggest that in at least many other cases electromagnetic packets, whether Fermions or Bosons, interact in the same or similar manner.

Gravity is a solely attractive force and thus may seem fundamentally different than electromagnetism.  However a rather simple mechanism which can cause electromagnetism to express as a solely attractive net force seems plausible as I explain below.  I'm reasonably confident that this mechanism's conceptually sound irrespective of how force is mediated.  However my hypothesis depends upon a key unproven assumption, that packets or groups, especially atoms, are not perfectly field balanced at every instant in time.

I welcome constructive hearted comments, including those which challenge or appear to completely vanquish my hypothesis, or reference similar concepts and possible collaboration opportunities.  My email address is here.

Preface:  Terminology modifications and force mediation mechanics (may be skipped):

I highly respect the superb and very hard won scientific achievements upon which the Standard Model's been assembled.  Inelegant and ad hoc construction criticisms seem valid, but messy paths are often necessary for eventual discovery of elegance.  Multiple key problems remain of course, and the most fundamental nature of Fermions and Bosons is unknown and may remain so for a considerable time, clouded in some measure by wave / particle duality and other mysteries.

Some problems might find resolution only in perspective changes which depart a bit from most research and common terminology.  So, though initially awkward for others, I use the term packet instead of particle to describe Fermions, Bosons, and groups of them because packet avoids implying pure particle character.  I recognize that most physicists don't consider particles to in fact be particles as the word is classically defined - in modern physics 'particle' usually conveys a different meaning.  Nonetheless I view the term as chronically distorting and thus inappropriate.  (However my use of the packet term seems more accurately expressed by Einstein's "spatially localized discrete wave-packet" term, so an SLDWP acronym seems justified to retain conceptual clarity, and I might revise my composition accordingly by replacing packet references with SLDWP.)

I also consider the wave only view compelling, and in that context the particle term seems especially misleading.

More importantly I discount packet exchanges as a force mediating mechanism at least in the context of my gravity hypothesis - instead I suggest that field interactions alone, considered in relativistic terms, might be a more plausible framework for force mediation at least for cosmic scale perspectives.  This seems useful in gravity hypothesis because packet exchanges seem implausible as a means to explain a force which is pervasive throughout the Baryonic matter Universe - a single atom for example evidently participates in gravitational force with all other Baryonic atoms in the Universe, a process which seems implausible through mediating packet exchanges.

The problems seem overwhelming.  For example the number of packet emissions required seem likely to overwhelm those a single atom could emit or receive at any particular time.  And a targeting dilemma seems to exist:  For atoms in one part of the Universe to attract or repel atoms in another very distant part of the Universe by a packet exchange process, they must either possess a precise means to guide their mediating packets to receiving atoms, or must flood the entire Universe with mediating packets with sufficient density to insure that all Baryonic atoms occasionally receive mediating packets.  An unguided flooding process might fit inverse square law force reduction - as distance increases fewer, by inverse square, unguided mediating packets would impact atoms per unit of time.  But the transmitting atom seems unlikely to be able to flood the Universe so pervasively as to insure that all locations in the Universe would receive a mediating packet even though only very rarely.  And a great many of the emitted force mediating packets seem likely to never be received by any Baryonic matter, and thus another problem arises:  How could the emitting atom discern whether a packet is ever received, or if so when and where it was received, so as to accurately respond, in both magnitude and direction, by an inverse square law gauged reaction force?  Or could there even be any net reaction force - if an atom consistently and uniformly emits force mediating packets in all directions, what mechanism could exist to signal receipt of a packet and cause a net reaction force in the originating atom, and do so instantly across cosmic distances to avoid round trip time violations of general relativity?

And how will exchange of hypothetical Gravitons from a massive cosmic body to one of its departing photons occur - will superluminal graviton speed be required?

I don't suggest that these problems entirely discount the concept of force expression by packet exchange mechanics, but the conceptual challenges seem immense.  Field mediation of force expression presents serious conceptional challenges as well, but the mechanics at least seem potentially plausible, even though the conceptual challenge of characterizing the nature of fields at their most fundamental level is whopper class.  In either case the Cosmic flood of neutrinos seems worth remembering as the search for useful hypothesis for force mediating mechanics proceeds.

So I consider field mediation more plausible at cosmic scales, and suspect that if packet mediation isn't possible at such scales, it's probably invalid at any scale, success of force mediating packet concept frameworks in packet scattering physics notwithstanding.  But I don't presume to comprehend the actual fundamental mechanics of shared expression of force, and of course no proof of a particular type of force mediation mechanism has been achieved yet at any scale.

And I don't dispute the existence of the Higgs or any other well accepted Boson, and I consider a similar Graviton discovery possible.  But I question whether these or any packets mediate force, including gravity, by packet exchange mechanics.  However my gravity hypothesis doesn't depend upon how force is mediated, only that it is.

My goal is to consider the possibility that gravity is an artifact of extremely tiny electromagnetic imbalances in Baryonic matter structure (especially atoms), an explanation which might be plausible whether fields or packets mediate electromagnetic force.  But given the problems with packet exchange mediation of force at cosmic distances it seems more useful to consider the possibility in terms of field mediation of force.  But again my hypothesis doesn't depend upon how force is mediated, only that it is.


A big conceptual leap to pervasive electromagnetism:  I've been very uncomfortable with the concept of gravity as a unique force, separate from electromagnetism, for over two decades.  The only support for considering it so seems to be that a successful electromagnetic based explanation hasn't been discovered thus far.  However if all other forces eventually prove to be forms of electromagnetism (a significant stretch which assumes the strong force will eventually prove to be so, and that neutrinos contain at least a faint element of em character), the fabric of the Universe seems far more likely to be based solely upon electromagnetism than a pervasive landscape of electromagnetism plus one orphan outlier, an extremely weak mystery force of unknown mechanism rather arbitrarily labeled gravity.  To me it seems much more likely that we simply haven't yet recognized (or at least not yet soundly characterized) one of the many facets of electromagnetism, in this case one whose net force is extremely weak, solely attractive, and consistent across a broad spectrum of conditions.

However my hypothesis doesn't depend upon electromagnetic character as fundamental in the strong force or neutrinos, though I suspect this may be so.

I assume (sans basis) that development of gravitoelectromagnetism arose from similar thoughts.  I'm a gravitoelectromagnetism novice - most of its mathematics in special situations aren't yet clear to me.  However my simple hypothesis seems to spring from a somewhat different insight so it seems worth conveying.  But of course it has little or no value unless eventually refined into mathematical frameworks which are consistently supported by experimental observations and proven laws of physics.

Description, Thought Experiments, Challenges, and Conclusion:

Electromagnetic energy packets unite in many complex forms, frequently involving multiple packets which combine into enduring stable groups because they exist at a lower energy state than the sum of the energies of free packets.  Baryonic atoms are the most obvious example of such groups.  These are complex and dynamic groups of course - numerous tiny electromagnetic packets are locked in energy conserving combinations with other tiny em packets, but the groups and patterns they form are never static, but rather whirl among themselves in multiple ways.  So dynamic electromagnetic fields from these packets exist at all points in space within the atom and, in my estimation, external to the atom as well, though at far lower strength.

Within the atom packets are bound with one another by powerfully coupled electromagnetic fields (in part presuming the strong force at least partially involves electromagnetism).  But a key question is whether any em field remnants exist, though at far weaker magnitude, outside the atom.  I suspect they do because I suspect the highly dynamic nature of all the internal packets renders perfect balance of all individual packet fields at all times impossible.  In my view one asks too much of nature to expect her to forge complex assemblies of powerfully coupled but vigorously dynamic electromagnetic packets to remain so perfectly balanced at all times that field signatures either don't exist at all outside the atomic assembly at any time, or reside far below 10 -40th the fundamental electromagnetic force at all times.  (One might for example question how radioactive decay could occur if all atomic packets remained in perfect balance at all times, though I don't mean to suggest that decay proves the case.)

And I suspect the average force of the net field at any location slightly outside the atom is about 10 -40th the fundamental field force of electromagnetism, also decreasing with the inverse square of separation distance of course.  Meaning I suspect this field force is responsible for the phenomenon we call gravity.  And, similar to gravitoelectromagnetism inquiries, I suspect such a force might align with all known static and relativistic characteristics of gravity.

I believe this force does not involve packet transmissions or exchanges.  Packet exchanges might occur within an atom (though perhaps this is rare or extremely rare), but I propose that tiny net atomic field imbalances express outside stable atoms solely as fields which attract or repel per their inherent electromagnetic nature.

So I propose that tiny dynamically aligned imbalances in the whole atom cause a tiny dynamically aligned net field force outside the atom which interacts with the same type of field force from all other Baryonic atoms and electromagnetic packets in the Universe.  (Presumably at gamma ray frequencies since the atomic imbalances I propose arise from subatomic dynamics. *)  If so consider how these external field forces would interact through this simple thought exercise:

Imagine a deep space based experiment in which a few thousand small ordinary rod magnets are evenly distributed within a one Km diameter sphere.  When deposited the magnets are spun pole over pole in random spin orientation relative to the others, but no linear motion is imparted - each one is placed in a randomly oriented spinning state but otherwise static relative to all the other magnets.  By magical means they're all deposited at a single moment in time.

As these magnets float within the sphere they'll magnetically attract or repel others depending upon the relative positions of their poles at any moment in time.  During a moment of attraction they'll accelerate toward each other, and during a moment of repulsion they'll accelerate away from each other.  However the attraction dynamic prevails due to energy conservation law - during attraction moments gap closing decreases the system energy of a pair, with the loss presumably dissipated as radiated heat.  Such losses can't be recovered during moments of repulsion, so the long term net result is that the spinning magnets accelerate toward each other, ultimately condensing into a cluster of all the magnets in contact with one another in a roughly sphere shaped state.

Stated differently, if a person could toss numerous small randomly oriented spinning magnets into the air, each separated by very roughly 10 or 20 centimeters, common experience suggests they'd quickly move toward each other then crash together to form a joined cluster of touching magnets.  Common experience suggests they would not fly apart - instead net attraction would prevail.  And conservation of energy explains why.  (As does this †.)

However in that experiment each magnet's spin orientation would change due to magnetic field interaction with the other rod magnets - as the experiment progresses the magnets would lose spin and reposition so as to align pole to opposite pole as they converge until all become fully aligned or contact forces interfere, preventing complete alignment.  In the case of real atoms this doesn't significantly occur because their tiny dynamic electromagnetic force imbalance is an artifact of far, far stronger forces which dominate so massively that atom to atom electromagnetic imbalance alignment forces are almost completely overwhelmed.  And the atom's powerful internal dynamics cause constant change to the orientation of the magnetic imbalance - if viewed as a rod magnet it would be one whose spin orientation constantly changes due to vastly overwhelming dynamic forces within the atom, and thus couldn't significantly reorient nor lose spin due to field interaction with the other rod magnets.

So imagine repeating the experiment but with each magnet surrounded by an imaginary shell which allows linear attraction and repulsion forces but effectively disallows spin alignment forces because the shells constantly change the spin alignment of the rod magnet within with massively overwhelming force.  The shell also repels other shells very strongly at very close range (colloquially when 'touching'), preventing further linear movement or constriction of the dynamics of the tiny rod magnet.  (Unless enough consolidate to form a mass large enough to occasionally overcome shell repulsion and cause fusion.)

In my estimation that experiment's a rough but useful means to visualize how gravity might function if it's an artifact of very tiny dynamic electromagnetic imbalances within atoms which cause very tiny dynamic fields outside of atoms.

I propose that the process doesn't involve transmission of electromagnetic wave packets, but rather interaction of very tiny chaotically oriented changes in the atom's electromagnetic field profile.  Wave packet exchanges aren't involved so no energy is transferred from one atom to another (or to free electromagnetic packets) by that mechanism.  Net closing motion occurs due to conservation of energy law (or viewed differently a net attraction versus repulsion force disparity), not due to force mediation mechanics.

Internal atomic activity is extremely swift so imbalance profiles likely change very swiftly too, presumably at gamma ray frequencies.  The fields generated by imbalances propagate at or near the speed of light, and imbalance fields interact over the full distance, including Cosmic distances, between atoms.  The interaction stage involves immense numbers of atoms over immensely vast volumes of space, so my hypothesis suggests the Universe is filled with an immensely complex web of extremely weak propagating em fields, all interacting with all others, usually based upon electromagnetic profiles rendered in very distant atoms very long ago.

The complexity of such a field would be immense since the number of atoms in the Universe is immense.  One might suggest that a mixture of tiny fields from such an immense number of atoms infers that no net field results anywhere due to cancellation to zero.  But, though the averaging curve has an extremely long asymptotic tail, it is asymptotic, so it never quite reaches zero.  And Earth resident atoms do, very slightly, share attraction force with atoms in distant galaxies.

Many conceptual tests remain to be considered of course.  For example the concept is potentially valid only if never blocked by ordinary matter, including metals which seem essentially reflective of ordinary electromagnetic waves and shunt bulk magnetic forces.  Objects enclosed within capped metal water pipes don't defy gravity for example - they fall to the bottom whenever the pipe is flipped vertically end to end.

Thus for gravitational transmission through solid metal objects electromagnetic fields from tiny atomic scale electromagnetic imbalances must propagate through metal atoms, affecting them very slightly such that they both experience gravitational force and also propagate its influence to adjacent metal atoms, other matter or free packets, or a vacuum.

But in my view the process doesn't involve packet transmissions so bulk metal reflection of electromagnet packets isn't related.  Electromagnetic field shunting must also be considered, but my sense is that metal atoms, with their own tiny dynamic electromagnetic imbalances, participate in the gravity process just as do any other atoms or free electromagnetic packets.  I suspect they don't shunt the effect, shielding deeper atoms from influence, but rather participate in the interaction at all depths as the tiny field interactions propagate at penetrating (but not ionizing) gamma ray frequencies at some proportion of light speed (I suspect full light speed).

This suggests that arrival of very faint electromagnetic fields oscillating at gamma ray frequencies very slightly interacts with a metal atom's electromagnetic dynamics, contributing to and propagating the disturbance to neighboring metal atoms as well, ever deeper into the lattice and eventually to the bulk metal's opposite surface, where it then propagates through the adjacent medium or vacuum.  A key point is that this hypothesis for gravity does not depend upon transmission of electromagnetic packets.

The Cosmos is composed of a great number of atoms, electromagnetic packet groups, and free electromagnetic packets, and my sense is that all atoms or packet groups are very slightly imbalanced electromagnetically at nearly all times, and thus form external fields which interact with all others, forming a net attraction force as required by conservation of energy.  It makes sense to me to consider that force as the most likely mechanism of gravity.  The magnitude, in admittedly informal terms, seems about right, and the principles seem more compelling to me than other gravity theories.  But several challenges must be overcome before my hypothesis can substantially progress.

Consideration of my hypothesis might be aided by observations of Bose Einstein condensates since such matter is far more free of thermal force dynamics which immensely overwhelm gravity in Earth common matter, though it's necessary to account for quantum scale effects as well.  But if a clearly displayed net attraction force between atoms is observed at all times except when thermal, quantum, or other phenomenon overwhelm, and exposure to tiny fields oscillating at gamma ray range frequency, or white noise type frequency modulation, results in a response which suggests alignment with my hypothesis for gravity, it would seem worthy of further study.

Bear in mind that if my hypothesis seems well demonstrated in Bose Einstein condensates, it very likely remains in identical effect at all temperatures - it doesn't magically vanish simply because it's no longer visually obvious under conditions where other electromagnetic forces or thermal energy dynamics massively obscure, but not eradicate, gravitational force.  That is, loss of visibility of the attractive force does not imply loss of the attractive force - it remains whether visually overwhelmed by thermal or other forces or not.

If atoms are not absolutely perfectly balanced at every instant in time without exception, then they express very tiny dynamic net electromagnetic fields which interact with all other atoms and free electromagnetic packets.  If so conservation of energy law causes net attraction between all atoms and free electromagnetic packets.  The force scale seems reasonable.  So in my view that process alone might explain gravity.  And if so gravity's not a unique force, but simply another form of expression of electromagnetic force.

Again I heartily welcome critiques, concerns, and other civilized and reasonably well informed comments or discussion.  My email address is here.

* I don't suggest that ionizing gamma ray packets are released, but rather the extremely tiny force profile of the atom's external field shifts at gamma ray frequencies as an artifact of extremely high speed internal packet dynamics.  Impact of electromagnetic packets with gamma ray wave lengths cause ionization.  But tiny magnitude fields alone, even though of equally short wave length, interact at very low strength level with the similar fields of other Baryonic packets, and for common matter the energies involved are far too low to cause ionization.

* Another perspective:  Simple dipole magnetic attraction and repulsion force strengths are proportional to the inverse cube of distance, and thus grow stronger with decreasing distance and weaker with increasing distance.  So during moments of attraction the attractive force strengthens with movement, whereas during moments of repulsion the repulsive force weakens with movement.  Thus the net force over times greater than many spin cycles is attractive.

With a caveat:  If initial conditions are such that the process begins with a full (or nearly so) cycle of repulsion, an escape speed might be imparted during that cycle which can't be overcome by subsequent attraction cycles.  This is equivalent to any gravity well escape speed situation - a sufficient initial speed propels objects away from their gravity well with equal or greater dynamic energy than the potential energy of the gravity well at any distance, and thus gravity alone can never recover the object.  Gravity still exists of course, and acts to slow the outgoing object - but never recovers it.

And an interesting force strength relationship problem:

The force of attraction or repulsion of fully aligned simple dipoles varies with the inverse cube of distance, whereas the force of gravity varies with the inverse square of distance of course.  I don't know whether the force of attraction or repulsion of two dipoles which spin in entirely random relative orientations in all three dimensions, with no spin alignment possible (due to massively overwhelming nuclear forces) is inverse cubed with distance like two static aligned dipoles, or inverse squared with distance due to spin with random orientation in three dimensions. It should be possible to discern that mathematically or at least with cyber based modeling.

But in either case that's just for two dipoles in isolation.  As a practical matter most of our gravity knowledge derives from experience with extremely high numbers of atoms in every three dimensional bulk mass.  If gravity arises due to tiny electromagnetic imbalances such as in atomic structure a great many atoms are involved, each contributing at least one, and possibly many, randomly oriented dynamic electromagnetic imbalances.  So a great many are involved.  (Most accurately all Baryonic matter in the Universe is involved.)  So the question is whether the attraction or repulsion imbalance coupling forces in these extremely complex three dimensional dynamic environments is related to distance by inverse square or inverse cube.  I don't know.  But I assume it might be an inverse square relationship.

I view this as a worthy area of study and analysis of course because if complex random dynamic system dipole analysis does demonstrate an inverse square relationship interest in a possible electromagnetic based explanation for gravity might develop in the physics community.

A glaring personal knowledge deficit:  I don't yet understand how force mediating packet concepts are comfortably supportable.

This is odd.  My guess is that the concept of force mediating packets arose because scattering experiments suggested such a process, then beautiful math and graphical frameworks which accurately fit the data and proved to be powerfully predictive arose.  But the concept isn't valid in some atomic physics theories, and for me at least it seems implausible in multiple respects.  My guess is that General Relativity is the foundation which will lead to a more refined understanding of force mediating mechanics, and thus a significant revision of the Standard Model.  Thus I suspect a successful integration of gravity into the Standard Model will eventually occur, and with it a different perspective of force mediation.

But in the meantime it seems odd that the physics community embraces the concept of force mediating packets considering its inherent problems with distance and general relativity.  However I'm not privy to the community's discussions - perhaps the most common perception is that the concept can't be genuinely correct, but is simply a useful temporary tool due to its predictive successes in scattering experiments.  Maybe someone will enlighten me someday...

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A gravity hypothesis