Applications of Vast Amounts of Electricity?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Out of curiosity, what would an extremely abundant source of electricity provide the ability to do? Obviously it's cost would go down, allowing much more to be done with it in the home, but I'm looking for things along the lines of electrolysis of water to cheaply produce hydrogen, etc. Also, can seawater or typical lakewater be directly converted into hydrogen with electrolysis, or must it first be purified?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
to put it simpaly anything you could conceiveably want
 
  • #3
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I'm just wondering if there are any interesting/useful characteristics of electricity (such as it's production of hydrogen when shot through water) that I am overlooking or that I do not know of.
 
  • #4
Pengwuino
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One thing I can think of is light prupolsion. You fire bursts of laser light at space ship and you can give it momentum. With tremendous amounts of electricity, I don't see why you cant propel spacecraft at tremendous speeds.
 
  • #5
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interesting, thanks
 
  • #6
Danger
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Aside from the production of hydrogen, the desalination of seawater for drought-stricken areas would be far more attainable. I can also foresee purely electrical transportation technology, including electric motors for prop planes and electrically heated jet engines. Particle accelerators, and thus the research into fundamental particles, could increase drastically. As Pengwuino alluded to, various forms of space propulsion would become practical. There's lots more, but I have to watch TV now. Later, dude.
 
  • #7
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Do you know what forms of space propulsion there are other than laser?
 
  • #8
Danger
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As mentioned in regard to jets, you could have a rocket with electrically heated propellant. There are also ion drives, or you could use an electrohydrodynamic 'torch'. Magnetic containment bottles for fusion or antimatter reactors would be easier to maintain as well.
 
  • #9
Gir
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Pengwuino said:
One thing I can think of is light prupolsion. You fire bursts of laser light at space ship and you can give it momentum. With tremendous amounts of electricity, I don't see why you cant propel spacecraft at tremendous speeds.
the only problem would be stopping said ship on the other end of the trip.
 
  • #10
Danger
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Gir said:
the only problem would be stopping said ship on the other end of the trip.
The idea that I saw for that, although it was fictional, was to use a 2-piece sail. When it comes time to decelerate, the outer ring separates and zips ahead of the ship, then reflects and focuses the laser onto the front side of the centre section that's still attached to the ship. Of course, the ring would continue to accelerate away, but with enough lead time, it can stop the ship.
 
  • #11
jammieg
Everything we normally do with electricity now, only without the bill.
 
  • #12
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Well,, decelerating from light speed could be as simple as using current rocket propulsion, right? It would just take quite a while,, and you probably wouldn't want to do that with a manned ship b/c you'd have quite a harsh deceleration for days.
 
  • #13
russ_watters
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At 3 g's, it would take about 2 months to decelerate from half the speed of light and require the same amount of energy as it took to accelerate it (assuming an external power source). A human could not withstand that. If such speeds are ever really attainable, only by spending many months accelerating at one gee, will it be possible for humans to travel that way.
 
  • #14
Danger
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Three g's would certainly be rude. One and a half, however, although uncomfortable, shouldn't be debilitating to a very fit passenger. (They might go through a couple of cases of Preparation H, but circulation, respiration etc. shouldn't be too adversely affected.)
 
  • #15
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I don't think a human could ever withstand the acceleration/deceleration that would be involved with traveling light speed. One g certainly is bareable... but constantly for months? I don't know a huge amount of biology, but I'm guessing that you'd die under even that force after only a few hours of it without any breaks. Anyway, decelerating from near light speed would indeed require as much energy as accelerating to light speed; but it could easily be carried out with other methods, as the propellent need not leave the ship at such tremendous speeds if its only purpose is to slow it down as opposed to speed it up.
 
  • #16
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BasketDaN said:
One g certainly is bareable... but constantly for months? I don't know a huge amount of biology, but I'm guessing that you'd die under even that force after only a few hours of it without any breaks.
I dunno. I've been living under one g conditions for over fifty years now, and I'm still holding up rerasonably well.

Living for fifty years under zero g conditions is likely to be far more detrimental to my health.
 
  • #17
Pengwuino
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Bob3141592 said:
I dunno. I've been living under one g conditions for over fifty years now, and I'm still holding up rerasonably well.
Living for fifty years under zero g conditions is likely to be far more detrimental to my health.
Technically you're not at 1g conditions because the net force on you is 0 most of the time :P.

Living in 0 g conditions is actually pretty bad. From what i've heard, they choose older people to go to space because zero gravity breaks up your tissue and muscle rather quickly. That's why they excercise a LOT in space.
 
  • #18
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Bob3141592 said:
I dunno. I've been living under one g conditions for over fifty years now, and I'm still holding up rerasonably well.
Living for fifty years under zero g conditions is likely to be far more detrimental to my health.

I mean 9.8 m/ss accel
 

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