Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

It may be difficult to separate "theory" from "application," but let''s see if this helps facilitate the discussion.
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meatsac
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Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by meatsac » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:32 am

Should we expect amateur scientists will have progressed from chemical to nuclear to sub-nuclear(quantum) in the near future? Is sub-nuclear energy production impractical because of the costs of the instruments to manipulate this matter or is it impractical because a quark (quark chemical potential μ around 400 MeV) has only a moderate increase of energy release potential compared to He4 at 24 MeV? I have read of a quark bomb but don't know how much beyond theory has been demonstrated.

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Chris Bradley
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Re: Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by Chris Bradley » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:52 am

There is no such progression. I think you are somewhat throwing in terms and hoping some stick, which is one way of 'brainstorming', but this isn't a brainstorming session as the mechanics of fusion have been well-described and demonstrated.

Fusion is nuclear.

All matter has a wave function, which imbues on it wave-like properties. Waves can penetrate an otherwise impermeable barrier on a probabilistic basis. There is a finite probability, no matter how small, that you will spontaneously penetrate your front door without opening it, because your physical mass has a 'wave-function'! This is 'tunnelling'.

The probability of penetrating a barrier increases as the scale decreases and as the energies (in the frame of the barrier) increase.

The protons and neutrons of a nucleus are hadrons. Hadrons are made of quarks. Charged hadrons and nucleii can penetrate an [each other's] electrostatic barrier, per the above, and thereafter *might* form a fused nucleus. It is a rare and probabilistic mechanism.

There is no currently understood/accepted variation on fusion to the above that I am aware of. There is one means of fusion that falls somewhat under your word-fest which is muon-catalysed fusion. This does not differ to the above, however. In this case, the muon forms a 'muonic molecule' in which a deuteron and a triton form a molecule around a muon. Like an atom inside out, the muon is -ve charged but much heavier than an electron, so this 'atom's' charge is -ve in the centre, instead of +ve normally. This keeps the deuteron and triton in close proximity for a [relatively] very long time, evidently long enough that tunnelling, thus fusion, may take place at low energies, whereas in 'hot' fusion the period of interaction is very short but the energies are very high.

Hope that helps.

(Maybe we should have a FAQ on what is the 'scientifically accepted' basis for nuclear fusion?)

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Frank Sanns
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Re: Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by Frank Sanns » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:37 pm

The usual rule with fusion is that one needs to expend much more energy that is produced. Even if you could find a combination of sub atomic particles that would spontaneously fuse at 100% conversion, it would be a net energy looser because of the enormous amount of energy needed to produce the sub atomic particles in the first place.

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Jeff Robertson
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Re: Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by Jeff Robertson » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:31 pm

Nuclear particles (that is, protons, electrons, and neutrons) are much more stable than quarks. Protons and electrons are completely stable as far as we can tell, and neutrons have a half life on the order of 5-10 minutes I believe (I've heard different numbers). Quarks, on the other hand, are extremely unstable - that's why you don't see them by themselves in nature. I don't remember the numbers to back this up offhand, but quarks are way too finicky and unstable compared to the nuclear particles we deal with. I'm not sure where experimental physics is at in terms of isolating and toying with quarks, but I do know it would be extremely difficult to exercise enough control over them so as to reliably fuse quarks together. Protons, on the other hand, are extremely easy to isolate and manipulate via an induced electromagnetic field- this is what a simple demo fusor does with hydrogen.

Frank is correct in that the amount of energy it takes to form quarks would most likely make any sub-nuclear fusion not worth it in terms of energy output. In addition to that, though, quarks and experimental particle physics is a much much trickier beast to work with.

Jeff

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by Dennis P Brown » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:28 am

Jeff, quarks that form protons and neutrons are as stable as those particles - how could they not be? They makeup the very particles! What I think you are getting at is that quarks MUST always be in sets of three to be stable. Single quarks can never exist and double quarks are what form almost all elementary particles, which we know are always unstable.

Since free singular quarks cannot ever exist that makes using quarks rather impossible.

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Re: Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by Jeff Robertson » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:30 am

You're right, when I said the quark is unstable by itself I meant that it tries to remain in groups of 3, rather than decaying into something else. Sloppy language.

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by Dennis P Brown » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:42 pm

Boy, am I guilty of that at times, too!!!

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Re: Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by Dan Tibbets » Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:05 pm

Harvesting energy from quark manipulation is considered impossible in most regards. Nuclear reaction such as changing the number of neutrons and protons can yield or cost energy due mostly attractive (strong force) and repulsive (electromagnetic) forces. Both weaken with distance, but with different rates, so changes in the net potential energy can be obtained. With Quarks, the only force (?) that effects them is the gluon force. This is an attractive force that has the remarkable property of increasing as the distance increases. This is why it is considered impossible to extract a quark from a proton or neutron in a stable manner.
Stability is important. In a system, any number of intermediates may occur but reasonably stable end products are required for energy distribution in the system to change.

Pulling a proton apart, or at least expanding it's borders (pulling the Quarks apart) costs energy. Of course allowing the stretched proton to relax releases this energy. But the stretched proton is not stable. You cannot store it, The reaction occurs so quickly that you cannot seperate the product from the reactant. The net energy is essentially zero. Compare this to nuclear species that can contain more energy. In this case there is not a problem is separating the products and reactants. You can use this to provide useful power(gamma rays). Note though that this is a "Battery" not a power generator like appropriate fusion of fission reactions. You put energy in and a significant time later the power comes back out. The same thing happens with electrons in their orbits- fluorescence.

The important factor is the potential energy of the reactants and products ( +.<. >). And the stability of the items. My understanding is that even if the potential energy of the particles (or lack of particle) is different, if the time element is short enough, the difference is unimportant. That is why pairs of virtual particles can occur without any energy penalty. If the time is less than Plank's time (or if they don't have time to move away from each other and thus change the energy/ particle distribution within the system?)

A more mundane consideration is two pots of water connected together.. You can heat one pot and heat will flow to the second pot and useful work can be done. But if both pots are heated to the same temperature, no useful work can be done . The energy of the system has been increased but there has to be a gradient within the system for useful work to be done.
A Quark battery could supply such a gradient, but the discharge from the charged- expanded state to the ground state is so fast, that there is no significant or useful time interval between the charging and discharging state. Again compare this to a isomer battery, of isotope battery. The energy has been stored and released at significantly different times. This applies to everything. The key is the stability. The big bang produced stable protons. These can be manipulated to produce stable helium and energy. If there was no stability (helium almost instantly converted back to hydrogen), it would be as if no reaction ever occured. This of course could be applied to any reaction, whether there is a difference in potential energy or not. I believe the key is again hetrogenic conditions , or entropy, enthalpy (?). There has to be a hot and cold separation is space and time reflected in Plank's distance and time. To be useful for us humans the separations generally need to be much greater. Also we need to mine the ingrediants. In the case of the prodon, the universe conviently provided them. For, ... um stressed Quark groupings, or free quarks, we have to produce them at cost, and if we could harvest the energy as they relaxed, it would still be at best a break even process. We could use isotopes or isomers- produce them or mine them on Earth, and place them in a space craft for useful power, no net energy production, but still useful (battery). Because of the stupendous potential energy difference with Quarks (and the lack of anything similar to Gibbs free energy in this system due to only the gluon force having a part) the stability (half life) is totally useless, even for a battery approach.

I believe Quarks have been separated (Quark soup) in some accelerators at huge energies and tiny time intervals, and with tiny amounts (like a few individual quarks). As a research item it is interesting, but from an energy perspective it is a wash. Actually it is far short of a wash as efficiencies in the conversions is far below 100%.

Dan Tibbets

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Richard Hull
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Re: Why not quark or hadron fusion fission?

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:09 pm

For all the many reasons enumerated above, I find it stunning that anyone would even broach or discuss any form of earthly energy process involving quarks or mesons. Just unbelievable.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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