# A muon enters a lithium battery....

• B
• x_engineer

#### x_engineer

Just wondering what would happen if a muon entered the LiH dense environment of a lithium battery. Could it explain the instances of spontaneous combustion of the battery in electric vehicles?

Li + H => He

Just wondering what would happen if a muon entered the LiH dense environment of a lithium battery. Could it explain the instances of spontaneous combustion of the battery in electric vehicles?

Li + H => He
The reaction your propose looks like fusion to me. At room temperature, I don't think that the Li and H nucleons are hot enough and confined long enough for a fusion reaction to occur. What makes you think that the presence of a muon would trigger such a reaction? Do you have a theory or are you just speculating?

The reaction your propose looks like fusion to me. At room temperature, I don't think that the Li and H nucleons are hot enough and confined long enough for a fusion reaction to occur. What makes you think that the presence of a muon would trigger such a reaction? Do you have a theory or are you just speculating?
And even if it possibly did it would not be enough to start a chain reaction of generate much heat. I think if one pumped the highest energy muon beam made today into a battery it would not even heat up. Given the world's strongest muon beam here;

https://journals.aps.org/prab/pdf/10.1103/PhysRevAccelBeams.20.030101

We get ##4 x10^8## muons per second @60Mev which dumps about 6 milliJoules of energy into the battery. One high energy muon at 10 Gev would be a few nanoJoules.

sophiecentaur
You get 4108 muons per second @60Mev which dumps about 6 milliJoules of energy into your battery per second One high energy muon at 10 Gev would be a few nanoJoules.
red annotation is mine. Units

bob012345
But the original question was if an event could theoretically trigger a reaction or cascade of events that might lead to failure. It would be wrong to say absolutely not but I think it is highly unlikely.

x_engineer
Yes. And in fact the question depends upon the likelihood of the next steps in the chain which depends upon lots of stuff. Of course the theoretitions sometimes get it wrong. Castle Bravo should be a bit of a cautionary tale for us all.

russ_watters and bob012345
But the original question was if an event could theoretically trigger a reaction or cascade of events that might lead to failure. It would be wrong to say absolutely not but I think it is highly unlikely.
That is exactly the question i was asking.

There is a phenomenon called "muon catalyzed fusion". If a muon wandered into LiH at the density of the electrode surface of a charging battery, could it cause enough localized heating to cause a short that can then result in an explosion/fire driven by the chemical energy stored in the battery?

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That is exactly the question i was asking.

There is a phenomenon called "muon catalyzed fusion". If a muon wandered into LiH at the density of the electrode surface of a charging battery, could it cause enough localized heating to cause a short that can then result in an explosion/fire driven by the chemical energy stored in the battery?

Niket Patwardhan
Well, that is an interesting question but still unlikely as there would probably not be enough muons or D isotopes around to continue the reactions. I am familiar with Muon Catalyzed Fusion. There was an interesting Scientific American article about that in the July 1987 issue by Rafelski and Jones which I have kept on my coffee table ever since. Strangely and perhaps unfortunately, the article was called Cold Nuclear Fusion but it actually worked. That process used muons with Deuterium and Tritium at room temperature whereby the muon replaced an electron in a DT molecule bringing the nuclei closer together. What path would you suggest in this case?

I think there are enough mechanisms which are understood that are are much more likely to destabilize a Lithium battery.

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russ_watters
Well, that is an interesting question but still unlikely as there would probably not be enough muons or D isotopes around to continue the reactions. I am familiar with Muon Catalyzed Fusion. There was an interesting Scientific American article about that in the July 1987 issue by Rafelski and Jones which I have kept on my coffee table ever since. Strangely and perhaps unfortunately, the article was called Cold Nuclear Fusion but it actually worked. That process used muons with Deuterium and Tritium at room temperature whereby the muon replaced an electron in a DT molecule bringing the nuclei closer together. What path would you suggest in this case?
In the cold fusion literature there was an article on an experiment by the USNavy that showed pitting of an electrode presumably caused by DD fusion. The current theory of why lithium batteries ignite during charging is the formation of a metal microspike that shorts the electrodes. If a muon wanders into LiH at solid density it is practically guaranteed to cause at least one fusion as the Coulomb barrier is eliminated; I guess the question boils down to whether it will remain local enough to cause a micromelt incident due to additional fusions within the small volume.

In the wild muons generally come from cosmic ray showers.

bob012345
Lithium battery failure modes are pretty well understood. The vast majority of shorts occur because of dendrite formation: as the battery is cycled between charged and discharged, lithium metal begins plating out on the electrode surfaces, forming long thin metallic crystals. Once the crystals bridge the gap between the electrodes, a large fraction of the battery’s energy is dumped very quickly, leading to catastrophic failure of the battery.

Nugatory, x_engineer, russ_watters and 2 others
In the cold fusion literature
Did you find that in the Science Fiction section?

A muon passes through your head every second. If they caused some sort of "chain reaction" (how exactly? It's not like fission where you release more neutrons that can initiate more fissions) we'd see that already with existing batteries.

bob012345 and berkeman
Oops. Looks like I stepped on touchy doodoo by saying the words "cold fusion".together.

Oops. Looks like I stepped on touchy doodoo by saying the words "cold fusion".
Well, the forum rules do specifically prohibit discussion of cold fusion, and you did promise to respect those rules when you signed up, so….

russ_watters
looks like I stepped on touchy doodoo
Using known crackpottery (prohibited by forum rules) to support your own personal theory (also prohibited by forum rules) gets people cross, yes.

But if there is "doodoo" around, I ask, who brought it?

Astronuc and berkeman
I think this thread is concluded.

Based on the dates I thought the chain reaction fizzled out months ago...

jim mcnamara, Bystander and kuruman