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 new heavy elements
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Dik-Dik Van Dik
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
76 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2005 :  17:38:49  Show Profile Send Dik-Dik Van Dik a Private Message
are any of these new elements being made at all usefulll? And will a new stable set of elements ever be created? I heard some vague stuff when I did chemistry that scientists expected a stable group of elements could exist, but they have not been createed yyet.

Vague question I know, just found it interesting
[Moved to the General Discussion folder - Dave W.]

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2005 :  17:56:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
The term you're looking for is "island of stability." As noted in that link, "stability" is a relative term. A half-life of 120 millionths of a second for element 118 may be many times longer than its nearest neighboring isotopes and elements.

Is this "useful?" If you're a physicist it is.

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Dik-Dik Van Dik
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
76 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2005 :  18:07:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dik-Dik Van Dik a Private Message
how is it useful to a physicist?

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Dave W.
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USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2005 :  18:21:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
1) Raw knowledge.
2) Knowledge of extremes (like super-heavy elements) can give us insight on the norm (lighter elements).
3) Building even heavier elements which might be easier or more stable or have other interesting properties.
4) More grant money.

I'm sure there are more reasons, but I'm no physicist.

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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2005 :  19:02:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
3) Building even heavier elements which might be easier or more stable or have other interesting properties.


I was curious if anyone knew how they "built" heavier elements or some good links on it.

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Dave W.
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USA
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Posted - 04/14/2005 :  19:07:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
You take two lighter elements and smash 'em together in a cyclotron. I'm serious. You can simply add the number of protons together. Oh, and you need to use isotopes with enough neutrons to make the atom you want, minimum (at least some of these fusions kick out the "extra" neutrons). Google "island of stability" (include the quotes) and you're likely to find tons of good info.

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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1266 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2005 :  19:40:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message
Smashing atoms together is a terribly difficult balancing act: you have to balance the stronger forces against each other (at atomic masses, gravity hardly means a thing).

The Strong Nuclear Force that holds protons and neutrons (the atom) together can only reach a certain distance. After the nucleus gets to a certain size, the strong force can't pull any more protons or neutrons together because it just can't reach.

In order to make a new element, you need to keep adding protons; however, if you add too many protons, they will repel each other electrically. So, you need some neutrons to keep the protons a little farther away from each other so they don't fly apart (like two magnets resting on a table -- if you keep them a little ways away they just sit there. If you put them right next to each other, they fly farther apart than you would have set them).

So in order to build a "large" atom, you need enough distance between protons so the electrical force doesn't push them apart, but they all need to be close enough so the strong force can reach to hold them together.

It's a very delicate balancing act.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9680 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2005 :  19:49:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
Heavy elements have their uses as an energy source. Some pacemakers use (I think) Plutonium which produce x amount of heat per gram. There are heavy elements that produce 1-3 Watts per gram: Those on one side of peltier element and a heatsink on the other, and the peltier element will produce electricity for a long time.

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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2005 :  22:23:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
What happens to the electron clouds when the collision happens? Would some electrons collide with other electrons or a proton or a neutron and possibly fly off?

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9680 Posts

Posted - 04/15/2005 :  07:03:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
Subatomic particles do not interact with each other like pool-balls. Depending energy levels they might just pass through each other, at this level they don't act solely as particles anymore, but can also be considered a wave.
They don't act according to physical interaction, but according to the three fundamental forces: strong and weak nuclear force, and electromagnetic force. Exactly what happens, I can't tell you... The weak force makes a neutron decay into a proton and an electron, but I'm unsure that the process can be reversed. The neutron does not have any charge, so a collision with an electron should be uneventful.

When a nucleus has too many neutrons, one of the neutrons can decay to a proton and an electron. This is called Beta-radiation. The energy of the electron is too high for the atom, so it can not be captured, but travel a few inches under the right conditions.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 04/15/2005 :  07:22:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

The weak force makes a neutron decay into a proton and an electron, but I'm unsure that the process can be reversed.
Gamma radiation in the upper atomosphere whacking into a nitrogen nucleus (7 protons, 7 neutrons) can turn a proton into a neutron, making carbon-14 (6 protons, 8 neutrons).

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Dik-Dik Van Dik
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
76 Posts

Posted - 04/15/2005 :  08:16:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dik-Dik Van Dik a Private Message
doesnt other crap come out of a neutron too in this process? like neutrinos?

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26016 Posts

Posted - 04/15/2005 :  10:04:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Yeah, a neutron decays into a proton, an electron and an electron anti-neutrino (the last two by way of a W- boson).

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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1266 Posts

Posted - 04/15/2005 :  17:32:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky
What happens to the electron clouds when the collision happens? Would some electrons collide with other electrons or a proton or a neutron and possibly fly off?
Not really. Usually, the energy required to cause atomic fusion (generating bigger atoms) will strip the nucleus of its electrons, so you have two positively charged atom flying into each other.

In other words, they move so fast that they leave the electrons behind.
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