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About plasma

  1. Nov 18, 2006 #1
    I have a question regarding plasma .Suppose i heat a certain amount of dioxygen , O2 , which will first easely break into oxygen and after come to a point where at least 1 electrons gets free of the oxygen atom and hence the substence become plasma according to the definition.

    Now , if i keep heating this plasma , will all the atoms left in the oxygen get freed and will it keep going until the point where all the protons and neutrons will get freed to give a plamas containing only protons , electrons and neutrons . Is such a thing possible ??
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2006 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The ionization energy to free the electrons is way lower than the energy required to separate neutrons from protons, correct?
  4. Nov 19, 2006 #3
    Yes , that is correct . But still if we keep adding energy when heating ,is the nucleus eventually going to break apart
  5. Nov 19, 2006 #4


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    Well, yes, but you'd have to heat it a lot, about 10^10 K, where the average thermal energy is in the MeV range, which is the binding energy of neutrons and protons in nucleae.
  6. Nov 19, 2006 #5
    Is this more feasible on a small group of atoms in a particule accelerator ?
    If so , would'nt it be possible to break , let's say , a group of radioactive plutonium atoms in its nucleous constituants ? This would be some kind of a way to get rid of nuclear wasts (but not a very cheap way).
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2006
  7. Nov 19, 2006 #6


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    I think it is more feasible just to use the plutonium as reactor fuel.
    Eventually you get the same result and in the meantime you can get energy out of it.
  8. Nov 19, 2006 #7
    True , but what about the nuclear wasts that are not used to make nuclear fission and that are usually disposed.We could get rid of them that way and take the residual protons , neutrons and electrons for fuel for nuclear fusion.
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