Saturday, September 3, 2011

Morning Summary, 8/3

Good morning.

It appears that I have reached a snag in my armchair physics studies. It will take a long time to study it all in order to be able to understand it properly. After spending some time on it this morning, the significance of my lack of understanding was becoming more clear to me.

After reaching my age, I have noticed a tendency of mine- many times than what I care to remember- to take on more than I can chew. And here I am, having done it again.

With respect to "cold fusion", it is enough for me to say that I understand it to be incorrect use of language.  I respect language enough to want to make that distinction.  Cold, in this sense, means low energy.  Fusion in this sense, means strong nuclear force.  Putting those terms together appears oxymoronic.  In order to bring about fusion, one needs high energy to overcome the Coulomb barrier and bring the strong nuclear force into play.  Therefore, it would seem to be a contradiction in terms.  Hence, the confusion of cold fusion.

Low energy nuclear reactions seem to be the more correct term.  It is not fusion, it is not overcoming the Coulomb barrier, it does not invoke the strong nuclear force.  It invokes the weak nuclear force instead.  The forces in the Standard Model of Particle Physics are:  strong, weak, and electromagnetic.  Strong and weak nuclear forces are substantially different from each other.  For example, the Coulomb barrier implies electromagnetic force.   Likewise, weak nuclear force involves beta decay; not fusion, nor fission.  Fusion and fission belong to the strong nuclear force.  Beta decays do not make bombs.  But they can be used to make energy.

It has taken me awhile to get to this point.  But I haven't got a lot of time.  Let's just leave it at this point.  I think I've got it now- so as to understand these most basic points.  No need to pass myself off as an expert.  Let that distinction be made clear.  I am just an ordinary guy trying to understand a difficult subject.  And write about it as best I can.

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