energy condition





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The theory of classical gravity (general relativity) a priori and straightforwardly admits the coupling to gravity of (matter-)fields with any covariant local Lagrangian. The resulting Einstein equations will always exist and will equate the Einstein tensor with the given stress-energy tensor of the matter fields.

While that hence gives consistent theories in themselves – a set of differential equations –, not all choices of matter Lagrangians are physically reasonable. One consistency condition for physical reasonable choices is for instance that from far away any non-vanishing matter distribution should behave as a single ball of positive mass. An energy condition is an extra condition imposed on a stress-energy tensor that is meant to reflect physical plausibility conditions of this kind.

There are vrious conditions of various strengths considered in the literature. One is called the dominant energy condition and that indeed implies the above asymptotic positivity of mass distributions, this is the content of the positive energy theorem.


Created on February 12, 2015 at 11:39:18. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.