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Applications of Rare Earth Elements, Island of stability elements, and Exotic matter

  1. Nov 20, 2014 #1
    Greetings, I am interested in creating a thread dedicated to the discussion of the uses of currently discovered and used and theorized/dreamed of types of matter in our universe. This includes R.E.E's (Rare earth elements, like Neodymium or Yttrium http://www.rareelementresources.com/rare-earth-elements#.VG44EjTF-So ), Island of stability elements, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_of_stability ) and types of exotic matter ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exotic_matter ) article links provided for those unfamiliar with these subjects.

    Note, well this thread is tuned towards real science being used to hypothesize and theorize and explain, science fiction and fantasy materials are allowed to be discussed. For instance what awoke my fascination with this general subject of discussion was naquadah's appearent greater energy release then E=mC^ , or triniums strength and lightness, both from Stargate, and the seemingly impossibly hard/tough tritanium and duranium from Star Trek, materials capable of resisting weapons that can disintegrate humanoids instantly. (Although obviously the writers of almost all Scifi shows have no idea about science, engineering or consistency.) So, feel free to bring things like that up on the thread, but also try not to derail a current discussion please.

    The first topic of discussion I would like to table is on a particularly interesting subject to myself, the Island of Stability and its potentials for human technology. Could there really be an element like naquadah, or a room temperature super conductor like the mineral Unobtanium? (Avatar)

    Edit *I wondered if this would be moved to this section of the forum, I would not have moved it myself (I have been staff on sites before) I chose the previous category because in my mind it fit more as this is not a pure Scifi discussion.*
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
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  3. Nov 20, 2014 #2


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    naquadah: If energy conservation is violated at all, it is violated by a process, not by a material. So you would need some weird fundamental process that happens in a specific material only. Uhm... tricky.

    Room-temperature superconductors: certainly possible. High-temperature superconductors are not well understood, and there could be another class waiting for our discovery. I think it is unlikely that you need a new element for that, however.

    Practical applications for the island of stability would surprise me. Those elements are probably all short-living and have to be produced atom by atom (at least currently).

  4. Nov 20, 2014 #3
    Well, I should have included a better example. Supposedly a hand phaser on ten can cut through 100 meters of metamorphic rock instantly I believe, but has virtually no effect on a door made of duranium.
  5. Nov 20, 2014 #4


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    Now we are at science fiction...
    For lasers: Mirrors.
  6. Nov 20, 2014 #5
    Reflective materials offer little protection at close ranges especially for the mass requirement. For pulsed beams, the intensity gets so high that reflectivity doesn't matter much - the beam just rips electrons off any surface it encounters. Even at lower intensities, the beam can rapidly heat a reflective surface, pitting it or scorching it (and thus reducing its reflectivity) or flashing it to plasma (at which point the beam would heat the plasma, and the plasma would heat the surface, bypassing the reflectivity). At the limit of laser engagement range in space, meaning extreme range, the beam has spread out enough that reflective materials may be useful. But then what about when they get closer? In short, reflective armor is a pipe dream.

    Anyways, what about these fascinating articles I found on what became one of my favorite websites that I am seeking to make more popular as a plausible type of matter in real science, namely magmatter a type of exotic matter.

  7. Nov 21, 2014 #6
    The problem with pulsed laser weapons is that (as far as I know), they always suffer "blooming" of the air at a high enough intensity, they simply turn it into plasma which furthter absorbs more light, meaning that for each frequency and medium there is a hard limit on how much intensity a beam can have, something that can probably be lowered for defensive purposed by smoke, dust, et cetera.

    In vacuum, however, laser is king.
  8. Nov 21, 2014 #7
    Yup, in atmosphere, lasers and particle beams lose energy over distance as they ionize the air. In vacuum, lasers dominate for long range combat. In atmosphere, near infrared and visible spectrum are best, well shorter wavelengths are especially absorbed. Under water, green is best I do believe. In space, ultraviolet or X-ray would be best for heavy duty high energy long range weapons. (Or Gamma if one could efficiently and consistently harness and focus gamma rays)

    Reflective materials would have no real benefit against lasers in the high kilowatt and megawatt pulse intensity.

    In any case, speaking of gamma rays, the theoretical conversion technology I gave a link to based on magmatter theory would enable the production of gamma beam weapons, devastating weapons.
  9. Nov 21, 2014 #8


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    Now the thread went to pure science fiction - and far away from actual science. As much plausible as "and then we use magic to levitate this object".
  10. Nov 22, 2014 #9
    In vacuum, lasers still scatter after a distance, so kinetics might still can have their role.

    Since it is SF already, what about the null-element of Mass Effect, produced by neutron stars? Is there any chance that can be stabil? (Well, neutrons dont repel each other.) Or build a container from exotic particles (quarks, dark matter?), that could contain antimatter for example?

    That island of stability sounds interesting, i wondered why doesnt technecium have a stabil isotope (but i guess it would be too hard for explain to me...)
  11. Nov 22, 2014 #10

    Actually not really, if you take the time to read and study the articles they are quite interesting. Many devices and aspects of science started out as theories, which could be classified as fictions until proven true.

    Containing anti matter, for instance anti protons, is actually fairly straight forward using magnetic fields. If something go's wrong with my anti matter magnetic containment field, I would likely find out for sure if there really is an after life or not.

    However, well there are theoretical ways to generate substantial amounts of anti matter relatively cheap it is much more dangerous then controlled sustained fusion. It could be used an effective catalyst in a fusion reaction.

    Amat beam weapons are not particularly worth the effect to make, the extra energy your getting from the m/a annihilation would not really improve your destructive potential because it will be easy enough to destroy a ship with more conventional weapons, like proton beams or rail guns which would be much safer and cheaper energy wise.

    We know virtually nothing about dark matter or dark energy last I heard. Speculation would be pretty much completely wild. It seems they have space warping gravitational effects given our observations of the universe.

    Null element? Element zero you mean? Something akin to it could potentially exist yes.
  12. Nov 22, 2014 #11


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    I read the first article. Science fiction is as hard as its weakest part. It got weak at the massless magnetic monopoles. I'm fine with magnetic monopoles - but why do they write "massless"? This is both unnecessary (at least within the article) and completely wrong. A particle with a magnetic charge would have a mass just based on this charge - even if it does not have other contributions.
    It might look like a detail, but it shows the writers are not interested in keeping it realistic.

    Then we get some technobabble and unclear physical processes - well, that's okay, at least no clear violation of physical laws.

    If you can "somehow" make baryons decay to gamma rays and reflect them with "nearly 100% efficiency", where is the point in doing that in a fusion vessel, which has completely different requirements for the walls, magnetic fields and so on?

    Yes, but so far no single device violated any accepted fundamental theory. They all just put together known physics in new ways.

    Wait, are they short-living or not? What does "short-living" even mean for massless particles?

    Yes, as every energy has in General Relativity, including the visible mass.

    0 out of 0 wars in space were fought with lasers.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  13. Nov 22, 2014 #12
    "0 out of 0 wars in space were fought with lasers."

    Well, they did shot down satellites... with missiles. And developing hunter satellite and military space plane.
  14. Nov 22, 2014 #13
    Assuming all we know about the universe is correct in any case, which is all we can work with its true, BUT this is small potatoes. Just take out the 'massless' part. Actually, I do not think they are 'massless' at all, just with no mass worth mentioning is what they mean.


    IDK if its a language barrier or something but I am unclear as to what you are saying here.

    Its a hybrid system of enhanced highly efficient fusion propulsion that advances over time. Currently, projected efficiency's of fusion drives would be good to get 10%.


    Perhaps 'decaying' or 'transmuting' back into the particle they were previously. Perhaps their is a way to store them short term, or at least store the particles they decay back into to recycle them through the conversion drive.

    Collecting it from Earths own magnetic belt, or the belt of Saturn, Jupiter, or our Sun. Using facilities on or in orbit of Mercury or close to the sun that use the vast amounts of solar energy to power amat generation, one of amats biggest issues is the inefficiency of using our power to create the amat in the first place. Transporting and storing it would be the bigger issue.

    I'll add in 'Lasers will likely dominate the battle field in future space wars for extreme and long range engagements.'
  15. Nov 22, 2014 #14


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    Even less (in terms of energy released per total energy in the fuel). But heating a fusion plasma with gamma rays is inefficient. And if you want to go for maximal fuel efficiency ("100%" as described there), you do not use fusion anyway.

    There are small amounts of positrons without any concept how to collect them. The antiprotons are the hard part.
    Yes. And we are talking about an efficiency of 0.00001% or whatever (did not count the zeros, probably an optimistic number) for current accelerators.
    Based on what?
  16. Nov 22, 2014 #15
    Well its not generic fusion.

    Actually there are concepts to collect the generated antimatter in magnetic belts, mag scoops.

    Good thing the suns got a lot of free power being emitted constantly huh? UNLEASH THE POWER OF THE SUN

    Our technology will also advance, we can bet generating amat will become more efficient especially with nigh unlimited free solar energy now available.

    Granted, establishing the infrastructure would cost mega bucks, assuming space will lack any substantial starting infrastructure or that the concept of money even still exists.

    What we know about lasers for the most part. Yes right now they are very inefficient and hopelessly high tech compared to simple kinetic weapons or the more advanced rail cannons for example, but we are working on them. The U.S has them now actually, and has successfully tested it. And a rail cannon though it can only fire once before being reset.

    Laser range, the fact it travels at the speed of light obviously, and kill potential even in high kilowatt pulse ranges of half a second or less for a duration of 4-5 pulses given how thin a spacecrafts hull will be and the propellant mass.

    A rail cannon can get a projected max of 13-16 km per sec with very high technology, as in vaporized plasma rails technology. Coil guns can get more if they have many segments making them longer. Well fast, compared to SOL its nothing. As long as the lasers computerized targeting system is good enough, in ranges of one light second or less your almost guaranteed hit will probably be a kill. In close range, space type point blank, kinetic weapons will dominate for simplicity.

    Also, unless we figure out a more efficient way to dispose of waste heat, any vessel or satellite armed with energy weapons will have large, vulnerable heat radiators.
  17. Nov 23, 2014 #16
    Orions arm ≠ reality, its "magmatter" f.ex can't be described as "as a plausible type of matter in real science". They spin quite obscure scientific theories into unobtainiums and handwavetech just like any sci-fi franchise, though they do tend to be more logically consistent than f,.ex TV-shows or movies.

    Lasers do disperse in vacuum, but at light second ranges, which corresponds to kinetic weapons being impractically slow, or very, very advanced, which would be odd to happen without ships also being capable of getting out of the way.

    Perhaps we should have a more general threads about space warfare?
  18. Nov 23, 2014 #17
    I already have two of them. (Not that i were unbiased.) I consider beam diameter to be cm at most to be efficient against reflective armor.
  19. Nov 23, 2014 #18
    It doesn't need to be anywhere near as focused as that, no mirror is perfect. Dielectric mirrors come close, but they are designed for a narrow range of frequencies and incidence angles close to 0. Any defect (or any spot where the reflective layer has been burned off), and the entire exposed area rapidly loses its protection.

    To protect against lasers, I'd just pump in tons of water to the exposed area as fast as possible, perhaps with graphite in it if some kind of deposition can be achieved.
  20. Nov 23, 2014 #19


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    Yes, there is science fiction for nearly everything.

    The energy is free, collecting and using it is not.
    Sure. That does not mean it would be easy or cheap.
    This is independent of the concept of money. It needs working power (not necessarily human, but working power that could also get used for other projects), both for construction and maintenance.
    If lasers would be the most used weapon, for sure spacecrafts would be designed for this threat.
    Science fiction is not a source for claims like that.
  21. Nov 23, 2014 #20
    Well, i also speculated about (Legend of Galactic Heroes like) liquid armor, if reflective armor and spinning to prevent hit the same location twice isnt enough.

    Well, reflective armor can also have multiple thin layers, if one is damaged, there are still ten others intact. Spaced armor is also good against small fast projectiles.
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