Atomic Vibration

  1. Hi All,

    I have a thought that I had a while ago and wanted some advise/feedback etc

    My thought was as follows:

    All atoms have their own specific vibration, if one was able to match this vibration or its oppisite then the bonds that hold this atom together would break apart.

    Kind of like two standing waves cancelling each other out.

    I wanted to know how would i prove this to write in a paper and how could i test it works.


  2. jcsd
  3. Andrew Mason

    Andrew Mason 6,960
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Atoms aren't held together by bonds. The nucleus is held together by nuclear forces. The electrons and nucleus are kept together by the coulomb force. I am not sure what you mean by atoms having their own specific vibration. Perhaps you meant "molecules" rather than "atoms".

  4. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    The atom is held together due to the interaction of the strong force, which works between protons and neutrons in the nucleus, and the electromagnetic force which causes protons and electrons to attract each other. The only way to break this "bond" is to give the atom enough energy so that the electron has too much energy to remain bound to atom. The amount of energy needed increases as you take more and more electrons out of an atom.

    For the nucleus, it is nearly impossible to rip it apart except by smashing other nucleons into it. We have no way to cause a nucleus to break apart currently.

    The vibrations of an atom have nothing to do with it. Matching or not matching the vibrations would only affect the interactions of those atoms with others.
  5. Andrew Mason

    Andrew Mason 6,960
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    What about a conventional nuclear reactor using thermal (slow) neutron capture to cause a U235 nucleus to break apart?

  6. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    U235 is already unstable and will eventually decay. We only use the neutrons to speed this up. In any case, this still is "smashing a nucleon" into it in my book. :smile:

    Also, I think i meant "No OTHER way to cause a nucleus to break apart currently" in my previous post.
  7. Thanx heaps for your answers, questions thou, if we were to talk about molecules would that make a differance?

    Also do we know what causes the strong force? as all forces can be cancelled out right?

    thanx again
  8. Not sure what you mean by "cancel"
    One can not cancel gravity. And one can not cancel the negative charge of an electron, per se, without changing it to a positron and even then a charge(this case positive) remains.
    Vibration? Under specific conditions this can break molecular bonds. Yet, the bonds are broken, not cancelled.
  9. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    You cannot cancel out forces, they are always there. With the electromagnetic force you can make a particle *neutral* by adding in a equal and opposite charge. Both forces still exist, but since they are equal and opposite anything that would be attracted or repulsed by one or the other charges feels an equal force from both, giving a net force of 0.

    The strong force is between the quarks that make up a proton and a neutron. It only acts at very very short ranges, but it is extremely strong. We cannot cancel it out because quarks always show up in pairs or triplets and in effect, cancel each other out themselves. (See Quantum Chromodynamics)

    Edit: I guess the equal and opposite forces is exactly what cancels them out, but I figured its best to explain that you cannot turn the forces off somehow.
  10. I quess cancel was a poor choice of words, make neutral is what i was meaning. so with relation to the specific breaking down of bonds (what im after, again poor choice in wording sorry) it is possible then? ie: a peice of material (doesnt matter what) been broken apart and reduced to its base components by a specific vibration/sound at the right freq/amplitude etc
  11. Yes. But the extant of that reduction is highly specific to composition and force applied.
    That is, some compounds might indeed disintegrate completely, others might not.
  12. ok, so what kind of sound force are we talking then? ultra high freq? and i take it rather alot of power?
  13. I do not know the specifics, but yes, ultrasonic drilling is an established technology.
    Again, such methods only attack(significantly disrupt their stablility by intense, high frequency vibrations) the molecular bonds.
    The atomic nucleus is undisturbed.

    You might try Googling "ultrasonic drilling" or something similar.
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