Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
0.5 and holding.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Concentrated solar plasma transformer

Transform precious metals using solar concentrated energy
  [vote for,

[suspended idea - possibly wrong assumptions] I will check again, within a few weeks and notify here with results.

[edited three times: (a) added quotes, (b) corrected prefix clarification to read: CHAIN reaction, (c) corected fusion to read 'fusion or fission'.

I'm NOT talking about inducing a sustainable fusion or fission CHAIN reaction giving energy. I'm talking about using a CONTAINED reaction, just enough to get small amounts of precious metal worth the investment, and concentrated solar energy is NOT that expensive!

//Note: originally this read: I'm Not talking about... fusion reaction. Many of the annotations are debating that claim. I corrected it to read: ... not... a CHAIN reaction...

According to various engineering and scientific sources highly concentrated sunlight from parabolic mirrors or Fresnel lens can reach 13500C and more from a mere 5 or 6 meter diameter. Also claimed, is that this heat will break up any material into its atomic level of helium or hydrogen.

If this is correct what is happening is similar to what happens at a nuclear reactor, except that it is small scale, and not continuing as a "nuclear CHAIN reaction".

The proposed system will concentrate the beam on two spots near each other, creating immense pressure, at the atomic and even sub-atomic level, so that while breaking down material into the lowest of atoms, perhaps it could also create several types of precious metals from less rare ones.

The problem with transformed gold, according to Wikipedia, is that it is radioactive. Could none radioactive gold be produced this way?

Wikipedia [[Plasma arc gasification]] quote: The temperature a few feet from the torch can be as high as 5000–8000 °F (2760–4427 °C).[1] At these temperatures, most types of waste are broken into basic elemental components in a gaseous form, and complex molecules are separated into individual atoms.

So it is the intensity of the heat that causes nuclear breakdown (aka fission), unless that article is bad science.

The fact that sunlight can be concentrated to give similar temperatures as PGP is well established.

So, where is the bad science? At the question of fusion power? At the use of the term "pressure" to sub-atomic level. I can show that it is used (in a free form of speech) in scientific texts, when not delving into the details.

Here is the Wikipedia on [[Fusion power]]: quote: The basic concept behind any fusion reaction is to bring two or more nuclei close enough together so that the residual strong force (nuclear force) in their nuclei will pull them together into one larger nucleus. If two light nuclei fuse, they will generally form a single nucleus with a slightly smaller mass than the sum of their original masses (though this is not always the case). The difference in mass is released as energy...

In [[Synthesis of precious metals]] under [[#Gold synthesis from Mercury]] quotes: Mercury 198 + 6.8MeV gamma ray ---> 1 neutron + Mercury 197 (half-life 2.7 days Gold 197 + 1 positron)

and then:

Gold can currently be manufactured in a nuclear reactor by irradiation either of platinum or mercury. Since platinum is more expensive than gold, platinum is economically unsuitable as a raw material.

Only the mercury isotope 196Hg, which occurs with a frequency of 0.15% in natural mercury, can be converted to gold by neutron capture, and following electron capture-decay into 197Au with slow neutrons.

Other mercury isotopes are converted when irradiated with slow neutrons into one another or formed mercury isotopes, which beta decay into thallium. Using fast neutrons, the mercury isotope 198Hg, which composes 9.97% of natural mercury, can be converted by splitting off a neutron and becoming 197Hg, which then disintegrates to stable gold. This reaction, however, possesses a smaller activation cross-section and is feasible only with un-moderated reactors.

It is also possible to eject several neutrons with very high energy into the other mercury isotopes in order to form 197Hg. However such high-energy neutrons can be produced only by particle accelerators.

pashute, Jul 03 2011

found! http://www.youtube....watch?v=z0_nuvPKIi8
Sun power melts rock [pashute, Jul 03 2011]

The idea is NOT about "fusion energy" shown in this video http://www.youtube....watch?v=xzNvCUs6PNI
but rather about precious metal transformation in small amounts [pashute, Jul 03 2011]

The Tokemak proshekt shiensh and technology bra bra bra... http://www.youtube....?v=TamkP8QrZak&NR=1
Whats the name of this guy? Things that used to excite people [pashute, Jul 03 2011]

(?) rad decay 4 http://www.griffith...ces/radiation-decay
usefull for showing what turns into what and how fast [j paul, Jul 06 2011]


       Edited idea and added quotes.   

       OK where am I totally off course?
pashute, Jul 03 2011

       I think that you need more than just heat to induce nuclear fusion; you also need to confine the resulting plasma at a sufficiently high pressure (and for long enough) to allow the nuclei to fuse. There's a minimum requirement for the combination of pressure, temperature and time.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 03 2011

       [edited: moved wikipedia quotes from annotation to idea]   

       I once saw a movie about a parabolic mirror in a lab, where the scientist sprays the air, to show where the sunlight is, and explains about all material being torn down to the atomic level at the focal point. But I cannot find the link!
pashute, Jul 03 2011

       That comment was wrt original idea; I think it suggested nuclear fusion without pressure at 3000 degrees ?.. This temp is common in many industrial processes. You would need Cd bars, hard water, Nuclear chamber to contain chain rection etc..   

       Would you not need a proper nuclear reactor ?   

       (BTW... Nuclear physics/chemistry is not my main area. Hence I am deleting my earlier comment.)
VJW, Jul 03 2011

       No change to wording of original idea. Just added emphasis at beginning and quotes at end.   

       The idea is NOT about creating nor inducing a fusion reaction, because that would cost a mint to contain. It is to use the small scale similar-to- nuclear reactor heat, to cause small scale precious metal transformation. There are extremely cheap ways to achieve these temperatures. See the two links, and look especially at the scientists and less at the quacks or modern day alchemists.
pashute, Jul 03 2011

       //The idea is NOT about creating nor inducing a fusion reaction... It is to use the small scale similar- to- nuclear reactor heat, to cause small scale precious metal transformation.//   

       Um, elemental transformation _is_ either a fusion or a fission reaction.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 03 2011

       originally the first anno I got here (from vjt) was:   

       Bad science.   

       and someone's [-] still there.   

       [max] - I disagree. That's only technically. But in common use a "fusion reaction" is only when the reaction is sustainable - like a fire lit once and not needing continuous external support. I think from my idea it is clear what I am saying: using the existing temperatures to work on metal transformation without "igniting" a continuous fusion reaction. This is obviously something that does happen already, and only needs to be "caught and used".
pashute, Jul 03 2011

       I think you need to get your terminology straight before you tell us what the idea is and is not.   

       atom: The smallest possible amount of an element - one or more protons plus zero or more neutrons in the nucleus surrounded by electrons.   

       element : a type of atom - with the same number of protons. (neutron number within an element can vary)   

       fission : splitting an atom into smaller pieces. (This may follow the atom being destabilised by absorbing a sub-atomic particle such as a neutron.)   

       fusion : merging two atoms (or an atom and a subatomic particle) into one larger atom.   

       nuclear reaction : fission, fusion or some combination.   


       You say your idea doesn't involve a nuclear reaction, but then as you describe it, it does. You might be thinking of a nuclear chain reaction, which describes a process by which the products of one fission event can induce on average more than one further fission event.
Loris, Jul 03 2011

       Whether the reaction is "sustained" or not depends only on whether the energy it liberates is contained sufficiently to promote further fusion. You're still talking about a fusion reaction, sustained or otherwise.   

       What you're proposing is no different, fundamentally, from attempts to "ignite" fusion using lasers. This is hard enough to do with easily- fusible atoms like dueterium. Also, for laser ignition to work, it relies on the ability of the lasers to create a thermal shockwave which compresses the fuel pellet and keeps it that way for long enough.   

       Seriously, [pash], just getting stuff hot enough will not beget nuclear fusion, it will just beget hot stuff.   

       And do you have a reference for //this is obviously something that does happen already// ?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 03 2011

       // obviously something that does happen already //   

       It does, but only in supernovae, which achieve energy densities so high that nucleii are driven right up the binding energy curve above iron, making the heavier elements (which are proportionately less common).   

       What is this thing your species has about gold, anyway ? Don't you realise that some of the asteroids in your system are up to 40% gold by mass ? It's not like it's an uncommon metal.
8th of 7, Jul 03 2011

       //It does, but only in supernovae// quite so, and in which there is also a huge inertial confinement.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 03 2011

       [pashute], let's just imagine for a moment that this effect works as you propose.   

       Now, as we do so, let's just think for a moment - asking ourselves, "Do these conditions occur anywhere in nature? Do they cause the effects we are considering?"   

       Answers would be something like, "Sure! The area of the sun's surface gets to temps in that range!" and "Uhh, no... the solar wind doesn't seem to produce much in the way of transmuted elements... sunspots aren't notably different in chemical composition from solar flares... flares don't seem to be enriched in heavier elements... Maybe it doesn't do what we thought."   

       That's 'cause it doesn't.
lurch, Jul 04 2011

       //where is the bad science?// To overcome chemical bonds and strip some electrons from the atoms (creating a plasma), you need thousands of Kelvins. You can do that with a large solar collector.   

       For hydrogen fusion, you need temperatures in the millions of Kelvins, and very high pressures.   

       To synthesize heavy elements (such as gold) using heat you need billions of Kelvins, enormous pressures, and plenty of spare neutrons.
spidermother, Jul 04 2011

       Establishing comment that I can later edit, without any pertinent content.
normzone, Jul 04 2011

       Normzone :-)!   

       Loris: OK, editing it to a Nuclear CHAIN reaction.   

       8th: (what is it with this species...): Your correct. Putting it under Science:Energy:Solar misleads. It should be under Business:General and then the incentive would be clear.   

       Anyway, its not just gold but any precious metal transformation should be checked with this method.   

       Max U Can: As you noticed, my claim is to a contained nuclear reaction that happens under solar heating conditions on earth. The sources I brought show that FISSION does happen here. The sources I brought show that FUSION has been achieved on earth, in particle accelerators, achieving production of trace amounts with extremely expensive equipment. Heat concentration equipment is extremely cheap (you could make a good 12m diameter parabolic mirror or Fresnel for less than $500) and precious metal transformation works both ways. So (a): Has it been proven or tested that down-transformation (fission) to precious metal is not possible? e.g. has mercury breakdown with a solar concentration system ever been tested? And (b): Have the reactions happening under solar concentration at extreme heat been tested - is there any fusion occurring? I would not count it off just because [lurch] cannot imagine it.   

       I did not know about the lasers. But perhaps sun concentration is more abundant less costly than lasers and could achieve higher energy input. Also there is a higher range of particles and obviously wavelengths in sunlight than in laser light.   

       Last but not least: I am proposing a method to induce high "pressure" at the nano level, by heating two nearby sources with the target material between them. This is exactly the idea of a "thermal shockwave" that you describe in the laser light system. Do you have a link?   

       [Lurch] A large portion of the sun's "atmosphere" is built of helium, because the nuclear reactions occurring on its surface are mostly in hydrogen, fused into helium. So precisely what you said is NOT happening, IS. I'm proposing a method to artificially manufacture precious metals (like gold, rhodium and bismuth - if anybody ever finds a use for it) deliberately working on materials close to the target material (like mercury - above, or tungsten -below, for gold or platinum )
pashute, Jul 06 2011

       Fusion doesn't occur at the sun's surface, but rather in its core; otherwise we would be blasted with gamma rays.
spidermother, Jul 06 2011

       [maxwellBuchanan] I meant the play on words to be in good humor - similar to Yes Oui Ken slogan. If it offends, please tell me and I'll immediately remove it.   

       [spidermother] After reading further, I decided to change the requirement from fusion to "a confined fusion or fission reaction" which will not induce into a chain reaction.   

       According to [[Stellar nucleosynthesis]] and [[Proton-proton chain]] entries in Wikipedia: although they happen only at the core aided by tremendous pressure from gravity, all simulation of nuclear reactions created on earth at terrestrial conditions is done by using (much) higher temperatures.   

       But we KNOW that fission DOES occur in sun concentrated systems: So let's try fission. What happens to mercury under concentrated sunlight? Has it been tried?   

       BTW: Are there any theories about the source of gold on earth, and why it is found in certain places, and not in others?
pashute, Jul 06 2011

       Gold (and all elements bigger than iron) are thought to have been produced in supernovas (where the temperature reaches billions of Kelvins, and the pressure is not vastly less than that needed to create a singularity); the solar system, including the Earth, is partly made of supernova leftovers.   

       I still don't think you've provided evidence that *nuclear* fission occurs in sun concentrator systems.
spidermother, Jul 06 2011

       but why, when found, it is usually found in the same areas together? I remember visiting in the Australian gold-rush towns, and reading about the American ones. As a kid, I read about the Aztec gold. Gold was also found near the south Nile leading to the legends about Ethiopia, the ancient Pharonite (sp?) expeditions and the European colonialism in central Africa.   

       When it is found, it is usually at a certain layer near earth's crust, and near riverbeds. Or am I wrong about that? It is usually found in [[Vein (geology)]s. Why so?   

       [Edited] I found my answer at mapmatters.org wms/413908
pashute, Jul 06 2011

       //The proposed system will concentrate the beam on two spots near each other, creating immense pressure,// How ? I imagine that these spots will have to be inside some container.
VJW, Jul 06 2011

       //If it offends, please tell me and I'll immediately remove it. // No offense taken at all.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2011

       //why, when found, it is usually found in the same areas together?//   

       Gold is found in a few concentrated areas for geological reasons. Some conditions favour the primary accumulation of gold (for example, by depositing it from solution from very hot chemical soups). Other conditions also favour the accumulation of gold in secondary deposits; for instance, rivers running over gold-containing primary deposits will pick up gold flecks and then deposit them at points where the current is slower. It doesn't have anything to do with nuclear reactions, except indirectly in that (as pointed out) gold and most other heavy elements are formed in complex nuclear reactions in supernovae and their ilk.   

       And, if you heat mercury sufficiently, my guess is that you'll get hot mercury.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2011

       If the idea is to turn Hg into Au, the best bet is the process called nuclear spallation. the knocking of bits of a atomic nucleus by energetic particles ( neutrons.) There are 6 possible isotopes of Hg that are heaver than Au 197. Hg:198, 199, 200, 201, 202, and 204.
If you don’t want to use a nuclear reactor, or particle accelerator, you could always try getting the Hg to the top of the atmosphere and letting high energy cosmic rays do the work.
Don’t worry to much about the Au being radioactive because longest half lives are 186 days Au 195 to Pt and 6.183 days Au196 to 92.8% Pt and 7.2% Hg. So just bury it for a couple of years and the gold will be fine.
j paul, Jul 06 2011

       //So precisely what you said is NOT happening, IS.//   

       The solar atmosphere contains transmuted (fused) elements.
The solar atmosphere does not produce transmuted elements.

       Of course, I doubt it would be possible to convince you that eggs, milk, and chewing gum are not produced in grocery stores, so I'm probably barking up the absence of a tree.
lurch, Jul 06 2011

       As I wrote fission in fact does occur at the suns atmosphere. Some store owners in fact produce pickles locally.
pashute, Jul 13 2011

       //But we KNOW that fission DOES occur in sun concentrated systems: So let's try fission. //   

       No we do not. We know that fission can occur at elevated temperatures and pressures (both are required). Just heating a material up DOES NOT produce fission. The mechanism is that the material is heated sufficiently that the atoms start moving around very quickly. Since the atoms are contained under pressure, they are forced to bounce into each other, causing a very small percentage of them to fission. If you aren't containing the atoms, they instead fly apart, and never encounter another nucleus.   

       Let's say, however, that you manage somehow to direct all the heat from your mirror into a closed chamber, resulting in the elevated temperature and pressure required. Fission (or fusion) is a stochastic process. It's not possible to produce only one reaction, you will get a range. That means that even if you achieve conditions that start knocking protons loose, only a very small percentage of the atoms are going to convert to gold, especially stable gold. Some will lose a few more protons and neutrons and end up as stable platinum, iriduium, etc. Some more will end up as Yttrium or just about anything else on the chain, because the nuclei split rather than simply lose limited protons.   

       Very many of your atoms, however, will end up as iron. Why? Because iron is an energetic low point. All the various unstable radioactives you produce are very likely to end up as iron eventually. It takes stellar core conditions at minimum, super-novae conditions more probably, to produce atoms higher than iron, that's why fission reactions of heavy metals give off energy in the first place. So even if you can make this work (you can't) you'll go from commercially valuable mercury to a few atoms of commercially valuable metals that will have to be separated out from a much larger mass of relatively valueless metal.
MechE, Jul 13 2011

       //As I wrote fission in fact does occur at the suns atmosphere.//   

       Yes, you stated it as a fact. In spite of the fact that the sun's atmosphere contains *no* fissionable elements, rendering said process impossible.   

       //Some store owners in fact produce pickles locally.//   

       Only if they have in advance the raw materials with which to do so. Show a store which has no such access and it's a fairly simple process to show that no pickles are produced.
lurch, Jul 13 2011

       //At these temperatures, most types of waste are broken into basic elemental components//   

       The "basic elemental components" quoted are atoms, not sub-atomic particles, that's what elemental means. Chemical bonds are much (many orders of mangitude) easier to break than nuclear bonds. Heat alone simply does not cause nuclear reactions.   

       //highly concentrated sunlight from parabolic mirrors or Fresnel lens can reach 13500C//   

       The highest powered solar furnace yet made achieves 3500C (Odeillo, France). Please provide references for anything higher.
MechE, Jul 13 2011

       OK here's the source of my (perhaps, still not sure, and will check further):   

       Plasma arc waste disposal: ...most types of waste are broken into basic elemental components in a gaseous form, and complex molecules are separated into individual atoms.   

       For some reason I read that with the saying in the video (which definitely WAS talking about fission, but may have exaggerated for the movie) as: and elements are separated into individual protons.   

       Meanwhile I marked the idea as [suspended].
pashute, Jul 17 2011


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle