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Author Topic:   Billion Degrees! Have we stumbled upon something new?
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2085 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 1 of 22 (293735)
03-09-2006 4:07 PM


http://www.livescience.com/technology/060308_sandia_z.html

Scientists at Sandia National Labs were able to heat gas up to massive temperatures. The thing that is more interesting then actually heating something over a billion degrees is that theoretically there is some extra source of energy involved in achieving these extrodinarly lofty temps.

Did it really happen?
If so what does this mean? Did we potentially tap into some new fundamental thing about the universe?
What are the potential applications for good or for evil of the ability to do this?

Admins please put where you feel it may be appropriate.


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AdminPhat
Administrator
Posts: 1911
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 2 of 22 (293838)
03-10-2006 3:32 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2085 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 3 of 22 (293967)
03-10-2006 11:52 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jazzns
03-09-2006 4:07 PM


Bump - Anyone fascinated by this?
News doesn't get much hotter than this? :)


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
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roxrkool
Member (Idle past 1070 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Nevada
Joined: 03-23-2003


Message 4 of 22 (293971)
03-10-2006 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Jazzns
03-10-2006 11:52 AM


Re: Bump - Anyone fascinated by this?
I can't remember much about the RATE study, but didn't they suggest [super?] high temperatures might be able to affect radioactive decay rates and therefore be responsible for "accelerated" decay? I know some yahoo on IIDB was attempting to make that correlation, but I don't know if other YECists were also trying to suggest something similar.

It's a pain in the ass when the impossible happens.

Pretty neat stuff, though.

This message has been edited by roxrkool, 03-10-2006 12:07 PM


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Silent H
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 5 of 22 (293978)
03-10-2006 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by roxrkool
03-10-2006 12:04 PM


Re: Bump - Anyone fascinated by this?
It's a pain in the ass when the impossible happens.

Well, it'd be interesting to see a YECist attempt to use this as an explanation. That would require rocks (well the earth really) to have been heated to billions of degrees without melting or in any other way changing form. That'd be a pretty big problem.


holmes
"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority." (M.Ivins)
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 22 (293985)
03-10-2006 12:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jazzns
03-09-2006 4:07 PM


Eh, not relevant. It's not the heat, it's the humidity.
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roxrkool
Member (Idle past 1070 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Nevada
Joined: 03-23-2003


Message 7 of 22 (293992)
03-10-2006 12:36 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Silent H
03-10-2006 12:12 PM


Re: Bump - Anyone fascinated by this?
Yeah, vaporized rocks are hardly useful.

I was thinking that these super high temps would allow scientists to test how, or even if, decay rates are affected by such high temperatures.

This message has been edited by roxrkool, 03-10-2006 12:39 PM


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Percy
Member
Posts: 18498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 8 of 22 (294002)
03-10-2006 1:10 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by roxrkool
03-10-2006 12:36 PM


Re: Bump - Anyone fascinated by this?
roxrkool writes:

I was thinking that these super high temps would allow scientists to test how, or even if, decay rates are affected by such high temperatures.

I think temperature affecting decay rates can be eliminated. Since higher temperature is just faster motion of particles, and since motion is relative, the particles aren't moving relative to themselves and their decay rates won't change. We may observe a slower decay rate because of relativistic effects, but the actual decay rate won't have changed.

Collisions with other particles could cause nuclear reactions, but that's not the same thing as decay. And the possibility of nuclear reactions can be checked by looking for neutron emissions and for decay products.

Measuring such high temperatures is not simple, and a number of assumptions are involved, probably including the radius of the tungsten wires. Given that their machine is operating outside of its expected range, it seems more likely that they'll find a measurement or calibration problem rather than new physics.

--Percy


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 9 of 22 (294006)
03-10-2006 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Jazzns
03-10-2006 11:52 AM


End times
I'm totally fascinated by it. A non-nuclear source of massive amounts of energy? I wonder how efficient/expensive the procedure is compared with the joule output. There is a geeky discussion of it at slashdot, which has some enlightening parts.

Maybe its the end of the world. If we translate it into greek it becomes the Ω-μηχανή (Omega machine), which is a damned ominous name :-)


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 10 of 22 (294007)
03-10-2006 1:25 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by roxrkool
03-10-2006 12:36 PM


decay rate change
I know that high pressure has been known to effect decay rates, but requires stupdendous pressures to effect it by a tiny amount.
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roxrkool
Member (Idle past 1070 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Nevada
Joined: 03-23-2003


Message 11 of 22 (294011)
03-10-2006 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Modulous
03-10-2006 1:25 PM


Re: decay rate change
I've read that as well.
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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2085 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 12 of 22 (294013)
03-10-2006 1:45 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Modulous
03-10-2006 1:22 PM


Re: End times
I got my hands on a newsletter from SNL and in that they give some more details. They are thinking that the particles travelling at such extreme velocities are interacting with the magnetic field they use to control the plasma.

So while there may not be any kind of 'free energy' situation going on here it is at least a new way to harness/create energy through the interaction with a magnetic field. Absolutly neat stuff all around.


Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 277 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 13 of 22 (294016)
03-10-2006 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Percy
03-10-2006 1:10 PM


new physics
Measuring such high temperatures is not simple, and a number of assumptions are involved, probably including the radius of the tungsten wires. Given that their machine is operating outside of its expected range, it seems more likely that they'll find a measurement or calibration problem rather than new physics.

I don't think it is more likely now. It is still possible of course, but reading this article:

quote:
The results, recorded by spectrometers and confirmed by computer models created by John Apruzese and colleagues at Naval Research Laboratory, have held up over 14 months of additional tests.

...

Haines theorized that the rapid conversion of magnetic energy to a very high ion plasma temperature was achieved by unexpected instabilities at the point of ordinary stagnation: that is, the point at which ions and electrons should have been unable to travel further. The plasma should have collapsed, its internal energy radiated away. But for approximately 10 nanoseconds, some unknown energy was still pushing back against the magnetic field.


If there was such an error, I'd have thought they'd have caught by now. I'm more inclined to think something previously unknown is going on, even if it isn't a miracle solution to all our problems ;)


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roxrkool
Member (Idle past 1070 days)
Posts: 1493
From: Nevada
Joined: 03-23-2003


Message 14 of 22 (294017)
03-10-2006 1:54 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Percy
03-10-2006 1:10 PM


Re: Bump - Anyone fascinated by this?
I see. Makes sense. Particle physics is way out of my area of interest.

I suspect, however, that YECs who don't trust mainstream science will accuse scientists of having 'preconceptions' about particle physics and by not testing how these super high temperatures affect decay rates, they are making a priori assumptions. Either that or the scientists are afraid their pet theories will go out the window.

It doesn't matter that when one understands how particle physics works, there is absolutely no reason to conduct such a test.

It'd be like asking a geologist to look for an evaporite in a layered intrusion.


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Percy
Member
Posts: 18498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 15 of 22 (294036)
03-10-2006 2:35 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Modulous
03-10-2006 1:52 PM


Re: new physics
Modulous writes:

I'm more inclined to think something previously unknown is going on...

I think so, too, and it seems consistent with the excerpt you posted from Z machine exceeds two billion degrees Kelvin: hotter than the interiors of stars:

Haines theorized that the rapid conversion of magnetic energy to a very high ion plasma temperature was achieved by unexpected instabilities at the point of ordinary stagnation: that is, the point at which ions and electrons should have been unable to travel further. The plasma should have collapsed, its internal energy radiated away. But for approximately 10 nanoseconds, some unknown energy was still pushing back against the magnetic field.

So at least part of the way they calculate temperature is based on how fast the plasma collapses. I don't even know how to think about the microturbulent magnetic fields mentioned in the article, but particles influenced by magnetic fields move in predictable ways, so they should be able to test whether that's the case.

The article makes it sound like the mystery of where the additional energy came from is the item of most significance, but we can probably safely assume that the "no free lunch" laws of thermodynamics still hold, and if we assume there's no new physics (I mean fundamental physics, not "Gee, we had no idea particles in microturbulent magnetic fields at high temperatures would behave this way") then the most interesting result is the ability to achieve temperatures of billions of degrees, because it's the inability to continuously maintain very high temperatures that has kept fusion from becoming a commercial possibility for power generation.

--Percy


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