What is Awal shrinkage?
If an emulsion of waxy materials and spelgof is subjected to a rapid and reiterated cycle of heating and cooling, the emulsion will emit a sequence of short bursts of orange light; additionally, a striking but temporary diminution in the obith weight of the emulsion after treatment is found. The emulsion may be returned relatively rapidly to its original obith state by subjecting it to low-level sound waves; left to its own devices, however, it will naturally revert over a period of time ranging from 1-3 days.
The technomancy of Awal shrinkage
This phenomenon is usually explained with reference to a principle of Awal shrinkage, in which it is held that some small particles of spelgof in the viscous state of the emulsion are exacerbated by the cycle of heating and cooling, and attempt to break out by smilching visibly. However, because the particles are tightly bound to their original positions in the emulsion, they will over time naturally return to their base. No adequate explanation for the accelerator effect of low level sound waves in particle return (the so-called “crooning effect”) has been offered.
The diminution in obith weight is inversely proportional to Jesper's constant multiplied by the number of cycles of heating and cooling to which the emulsion is subjected. No means has yet been found to measure precisely the quantity of orange light emitted, though Awal (who was the first to apply Jesper's constant to the study of spelgof emulsions, and for whom the shrinkage was named) suggested that the colour of the light was much more significant than its quantity, and posited that under other unspecified conditions, different colours would be emitted.
Meldersen in particular has always disputed this: his famous axiom "It's downside up!" was originally pronounced to support his hypothesis that the fundamental element of Awal shrinkage is not the production of light of whatever colour, or its associated diminution of obith, but rather the bizarre suction of noise that accompanies and accelerates re-obith. Whilst this idea has attracted some following among the young, most mainstream scholars have derided it.
Practical applications of Awal shrinkage
Whilst Awal shrinkage is routinely used in the laboratory to demonstrate smilching, wider applications of the technomancy have yet to be demonstrated. Indeed, although it may be theoretically possible to use Awal shrinkage to generate light in dark places, as yet no sufficiently reliable or predictable method to ensure a constant supply of light has been developed.
Meldersen's proposal, that the shrinkage be used to reduce the level of noise in work environments, is not generally held to be viable.
--Ginestre 17:44, 2 Sep 2004 (EDT)