Thursday, May 5, 2011

1:00 Update

I left off with the mention of muons.  Muons can induce fusion, it has been said.  Where do muons come from?
On Earth, most naturally occurring muons are created by cosmic rays, which consist mostly of protons, many arriving from deep space at very high energy[5]
About 10,000 muons reach every square meter of the earth's surface a minute; these charged particles form as by-products of cosmic rays colliding with molecules in the upper atmosphere. Travelling at relativistic speeds, muons can penetrate tens of meters into rocks and other matter before attenuating as a result of absorption or deflection by other atoms.
— Mark Wolverton (September 2007). "Muons for Peace: New Way to Spot Hidden Nukes Gets Ready to Debut". Scientific American 297 (3): 26–28.

 If you could find a way to make muons, it would be a big help.  But this is not easy.

Moving on, let's look at the so called weak force.   It interests me in this discussion because of the possible changing of a neutron into a proton.  Here's a key point:

The weak interaction is unique in a number of respects:
It is the only interaction capable of changing the flavor of quarks (i.e. of changing one type of quark into another).
It is the only interaction which violates P or parity-symmetry. It is also the only one which violates CP symmetry.
It is propagated by carrier particles that have significant masses (particles called gauge bosons), an unusual feature which is explained in the Standard Model by the Higgs mechanism.

In order to get from a neutron to a proton, one of the quarks has to change "flavors".  The neutron, having 2 down quarks, must have one of them become an up quark.  When that happens, there are now 2 up quarks and a down quark.  That makes it a proton.

An up quark is the lightest and a down quark is the next lightest of all quarks.  In order for a down quark to become an up quark, it needs to lose some mass.  Somehow, "gluons" get into this mix.  What's a gluon?
Gluons (from English glue) are elementary particles which act as the exchange particles (or gauge bosons) for the color force between quarks, analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged particles. 

Somehow, this all needs to be pulled together.  One more thing about neutrinos:

Neutrinos can induce fission:
Very much like neutrons do in nuclear reactors, neutrinos can induce fission reactions within heavy nuclei. 

I don't know if Nickel can be said to be heavy nucleii, but it has this highest binding energy at atomic weight 62, mentioned in an earlier post.  The beta decay of a neutron produces a proton, and electron and a neutrino.  Can the neutrino cause something to happen here?  What about muons?  How can they figure into this, or at all?

I think it is time to return to the nuclear journal article.

No comments:

Post a Comment