Fusion, Fission, Quarks and such nonsense.

Discussion in 'Discussions' started by OmniaNigrum, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Since I heavily polluted the RC9 discussion thread I figured I should attempt to fix the problem. Bring it all here. Discuss and bicker about entropy and relativity and quasi-psuedo-random whatever. :)
  2. banjo2E

    banjo2E Member

    I still don't get how you can get energy output from a process and its inverse. Surely one or the other would be endothermic.
  3. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    You can break down an element and get energy.(Fission.) Then some of what you broke down could be fused together to get more energy.(Fusion.)

    Think of a very heavy element with say 245 electrons. Knock four off and it now has 241 electrons. Those electrons are energy, right? Now take that 241 electron element and fuse extra electrons back onto it to again make it 245 electrons. (You would need more than 4 extras to do this, but in large batches it would work out.)

    How you can get energy out of both sides is purely hypothetical at this point. I honestly have never heard of a reliable means of doing this at all. Nor of extracting more energy from fusion than will be extracted when fission is the next step.

    Fission is very very sloppy work. It works in a relatively chaotic way. We cannot fuse a single molecule in a specific way. We can fuse a whole shitload of them in a relatively predictable way. But the energy required is ludicrous relative to the finished product.

    And before anyone tells me I am entirely wrong, note that I never even ATTENDED high school. Nope. Never even walked in the doors. I am self taught and I am certain there are many holes in my limited knowledge.
  4. DavidB1111

    DavidB1111 Member

    I'm not a scientist...but here's what I know.
    Nevermind, Omni explained it better.

    My only advice is to look up the processes yourself, that should help.
    Also, Fusion is hot. :)
  5. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Odd. People all lined up to talk about this stuff in the RC9 thread. I hear crickets here... And the crickets hear quarks. Or mayhaps remnants of the Big Bang as Xray bursts reacting to the atmosphere of our planet. A subtle haze of clicks and pops in radio frequencies that only magical fairy crickets that only exist in my head can hear.

    Good night. I hope there is some decent physics talk here soon. I love that stuff. Someone tell me about the double slit experiment showing light to behave as a wave and a particle at once? Please?
  6. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    OK, back from sleep and work. I look over the forums and what do I see? Another amateur science thread! How could I not weigh in with my two bits?

    Omni's answer is both correct and incorrect. The trick to understanding how you can get energy output from a process and its inverse is simple. You can't, provided you're using the same materials. Lemme explain.

    Fission is a process where one atom is split into two, releasing huge amounts of kinetic energy as the two pieces fly apart. This energy is normally tied up in what we call the "strong force", because physicists are incredibly inventive. This force is what holds an atom together and keeps the component parts from zipping all over the place. When it is stressed by neutron bombardment, which creates unstable isotopes of various extremely heavy particles, the strong force snaps like a rubber band and flings the component parts all over the place. This creates the kinetic energy which manifests as heat which we harvest to heat water to make steam to turn turbines to make us electricity. The catch is, it only creates energy if you're using very heavy elements. As you work your way up the periodic table to iron the energy released gets to be less and less until, if you're dealing with something lighter than iron, it actually takes energy, becoming endothermic.

    Fusion is the opposite process. Two atoms are squeezed together 'til they fuse into one. Usually, this is done by squishing hydrogen into helium. Again, the strong force agitates the materials and creates heat, although this time it's an effect similar to snapping a push tab lid onto a bottle rather than like a rubber band snapping. Fusion is the opposite of fission. Elements lighter than iron create energy when fused, but elements heavier than iron demand energy to fuse.

    Further, both reactions turn a fraction of their mass into energy using Einstein's most famous formula, E = mC^2. So, even if we could find a way to create energy by fusing hydrogen into helium and then fissioning it again, it still wouldn't be a perpetual motion machine because we'd eventually run out of mass to work with.

    At least, the above is my layman's understanding of the fission/fusion question. Now, that whole particle/wave thing? That I just smile and nod at. Not gonna even touch it with a ten foot pole.
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  7. DavidB1111

    DavidB1111 Member

    Thank you for that layman's understanding. That cleared up a few questions I always wanted to know about fusion/fission.
  8. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

  9. banjo2E

    banjo2E Member

    I don't care what anyone says, the fact that you can force light to behave as particles by placing detectors in front of the slits is scientific proof that souls exist.
  10. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    I vote for the addition of a "Diggle-Plus Fusion/Fission Reactor" to the game. It would be craftable by the player using two Diggle Eggs and a Radiant Potion in an Ingot Press. (And it would then explode and wipe out the Universe.)

    Is my Soul made of light? And if so, is my Soul being bad when it behaves like a wave? Is it good when it behaves like a particle? Or is the behavior of light just proof that there are dimensions we cannot directly observe, but can see in interactions with things we can see? (Like seeing someone behind us by the movement of their shadow on a wall?)

    *Edit* Force light? Are you implying my Soul is a slave to your tests? :)
  11. banjo2E

    banjo2E Member

    ...It's more of a "what constitutes an observer for the purposes of physics" thing than anything else. Since being an observer changes the results of an experiment...
  12. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    That argument has been destroyed by other experiments. I will see if I can find a specific reference.

    But have you considered that Light may have a Soul, and you do not? Or even that both Light and Humans have Souls? Animals can illicit the same behavior in Light. Does that mean all animals have Souls?

    What about when a more complex machine is constructed to do the observation? Does the machine then have a Soul? Is it the action of observing Light that causes a Soul to manifest, or did it exist before observing Light?

    Does Light being observed parasitize impart the observer with a Soul?

    This is a complex Universe. And Humans are very very young. Too young by far to really understand such things. We can form opinions. But we cannot say one way or another that this opinion or that is right, nor even *More* right than another.

    I tend to think of a Soul as an extradimensional force. It may or may not be ours. It may literally have nothing to do with us. It may just be a Cosmic marker that "This being observed Light."... :)

    Food for thought, think often and be fat with knowledge!
  13. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    There's some confusion about the fission/fusion question that I think I can explain better...

    First, a reaction and its inverse CANNOT both be endothermic. The reason why you can get energy out of both fission and fusion reactions is that we are not talking about inverse reactions. We are talking about totally different reactions.

    Light elements can produce energy through fusion, heavy elements can produce energy through fission. The mid-point element, so to speak, is iron. Any element heavier than Iron will require more energy than it produces in order to create a fusion reaction. Any element lighter than iron will require more energy than it produces in order to create a fission reaction. All naturally-occurring radioactive elements are heavier than iron.
  14. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Quantum Physics has taken on a life of its own as a pop-science thing, mostly because there are also some physicists out there with weird ideas, that get even weirder when misinterpreted by philosphers, etc.

    For example, Deepak Choprah is on the far side of loony when it comes to his understanding of Quantum physics, though I'm sure he thinks he has a deep understanding of it. The funny thing about expertise is that the same knowledge that it takes to recognize if one is an expert or not is almost the same as the amount of knowledge required to actually be an expert. The obvious conclusion is that far too many experts are actually idiots, and most people can't tell the difference.
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  15. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    I cannot click like enough for that last part. :) :) :)

    Also remember that 99% of advanced physics, including EVERY LAST THING said by Einstein is THEORY. Not fact. In most lab tests these theories pan out. But there are still many examples of things that do not, yet the theory persists despite being known as incorrect. It persists simply because no-one has a better theory yet.

    There is another word for theory. I like to call it conjecture. But that gets physicists up in arms and spewing Coffee everywhere.

    In reality, I estimate that upwards of 90% of what is taught as fact in any school is nothing more than a good theory.
  16. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Actually, Theory is the term for something that plays out consistently in experimental practice. Hypothesis is what we think to be true but can't experimentally prove. Facts are simply what you use to create Hypothesis and prove Theory (it's scientifically impossible to disprove something, as that would require omniscience). Far more of science than scientists want to admit falls into the realm of Hypothesis rather than Theory.

    I'm big on proper terms, btw. Very big. In case you hadn't noticed.
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  17. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    And I love you for that Lorrelian. (In a fully Platonic sense.)

    In half of my usages of the word theory above, I should have used hypothesis.

    Medicine is much like science in the way you describe it above. We have an idea what causes problems, and often an idea what may help alleviate them, but it is mostly trial and error that determines what is hypothesis and what is theory. (And later, what hypothesis results in a net benefit for the patients and what destroys the liver or kidneys or any of a dozen other organs and/or systems of the body.)

    The original Insulin used to treat Diabetes was extracted from a Pig Pancreas. Now it is the result of microorganisms eating glucose and leaving behind a waste product that when purified can help glucose bind to red blood cells. The disease is in no way cured, but it is in no way a death sentence any more.

    Ask any competent Endocrinologist if they actually know what even causes the disease known collectively as Diabetes and they would have to say they do not. But 99 out of 100 will lie through their teeth and say we know what causes it. The trust is that I used the word "collectively" above for a reason. There are multiple causes. Some are not always present. Some are, but that could be a symptom rather than a sign of the cause.

    I have Diabetes and have chosen never to procreate until there is a cure available. (At this rate I will be dust before that happens.) So I am also a virgin by choice. (I weigh 120 pounds and have a relatively nice appearance, so it really is by choice.) I am not ashamed of that. No child will be born to have my disease. If I wanted a child I could adopt one. But I am again way way off topic...

    How many dimensions are there? Anyone have a guess? How many can we observe directly? Indirectly? How many can we not observe or interact with in any way?
  18. DavidB1111

    DavidB1111 Member

    I weigh 310 pounds, and I don't have Diabetes. I don't know whether to be glad I don't, or sad that you do. :(
    Also, my dad developed Diabetes years ago, and died due to heart failure from it in 2005.
    While the genes can pass on to your children, it is still 25% I believe for one parent with Diabetes.
    Not to mention, when they develop signs of it, they could be fairly old.

    Unless I forgot how it all works, which is possible.

    All I know is that if I ever have children, I won't worry about passing on Diabetes.
    On a side note, I'd be perfectly healthy if I was 8 foot 7 inches tall. :)
  19. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Well you are right about type two Diabetes. I however have type one and require several injections of synthetically purified Insulin every day. I developed this at the age of twelve years. And in case there is further confusion, Type One Diabetes means your Pancreas either ceases to produce Insulin at all, or your body rejects it in one or more ways. Type one Diabetes is often called "Child Onset" diabetes since it is not often something an adult will get.

    To be clear, type two Diabetics can also require injections, but much more often are treated with pills that help by reducing the need for Insulin or other more complicated means to the same end.

    I could take the pills, but they would not help since I have no natural Insulin produced, or all that is produced is attacked by white blood cells and destroyed. (No Doctor can actually say which it is without extensive testing that does not really reap any rewards.)

    Also, about the 25%, I do not gamble. I have never bought a lottery ticket once. I will certainly not gamble with the life of a child when there are plenty I could adopt if I wanted to. (Well, not with my finances, but still.)

    On an unrelated note, what do you mean? Why are you not at least eight feet tall? :p
    (Remember the average height two thousand years ago was about three and a half feet. So we are evolving into taller and larger beings. You are just "More Advanced." :))

    *Edit* I just wanted to clarify that when I say "Synthetically purified Insulin" I mean they add an organism to a batch of glucose and wait for it to eat it all. They take what remains behind after it eats the sugars and toss it in a centrifuge and then do other steps they will never specify to "Purify" it into the finished product that is a molecule similar, but not identical to Insulin. It is done in huge batches like a dozen or more gallons at a time and they sell the finished product in 10 milliliter vials for $60 or more each. They easily make upwards of 99.99% profit.
  20. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    My Grandfather was diabetic and had to inject insulin all the time I knew him. As a kid, that really unnerved me watching him do that. I still have a hard time when I see a needle (I can take an injection, I just don't want to actually see it happening, to me, or someone else). So I do have tons of sympathy for you. That's one of the MANY reasons why I could never be a physician.

    I just want to second what Lorrelian said about the definition of theory, and one of the many things that peeves me when people use the statement 'it's only a theory'. Well, it wouldn't be a theory if it wasn't supported by the evidence. Yes, you can have competing theories, but time and data determines which theories survive, and which do not. Claims that can neither be supported nor refuted by evidence are not worth much, and in any case, have nothing to do with science.

    Science is evidence-based. The best way of determining if something is a science is to ask if evidence is found that contradicts a claim, is that claim questioned or refined to fit the evidence, or is the evidence rejected out of hand. IF the latter, then it's probably not science.