# Atoms whose protons have been stripped off can fuse?

1. Apr 1, 2005

### sid_galt

A plasma consists of both ions and uncharged particles of gases. Is it possible for the uncharged particles to fuse or only atoms whose protons have been stripped off can fuse?

2. Apr 1, 2005

### so-crates

Do you mean atoms whose electrons have been stripped off? I imagine the answer is yes, since fusion processes take place for heavier atoms, and I imagine ti would be next to impossible to strip off all the electrons before fusion takes place. This is just a guess and Im not a physicist though. I would ask over on one of the physics forums, like Nuclei and Particles.

3. Apr 1, 2005

### Morbius

sid_galt,

Not quite.

A plasma consists of ions and electrons, and neutral particles.

The ions and electrons are charged - however the net charge on the
plasma is zero because the number of positive charges [ ions ] equals the
number of negative charges [ electrons ].

However, if the uncharged neutral nuclei are hit by a proton or ion of
sufficient energy - you get fusion.

In essence, that's how fusion was first produced in particle accelerators
like cyclotrons - fast protons hit a target that was cold and uncharged.

All that matters is that the two fusing nuclei hit each other with enough
energy. The electrons don't matter - at the nuclear scale - they are a
long way away, and don't take any part in any reactions concerning the
strong nuclear force.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Last edited: Apr 1, 2005
4. Apr 1, 2005

### Morbius

so-crates,

No - it's easier to strip off the electrons than it is to get fusion.

You can have a "fully ionized plasma" and still not have fusion.

Fusion is definitely the more difficult of the two.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

5. Apr 2, 2005

### NEOclassic

Just a friendly greeting

Hi Dr GG,
About a year ago, I was doing a study (in the microwave oven in my home kitchen) that was less an ionization phenomenon than one of the kinetic theory of molecular gases. Let me describe what I discovered (I do have a video camera record): Most molecular gases when caught in an ordinary "round" latex balloon will tend to rise or fall (e.g., ~five liters of freon gas that may have been partially, although invisibly condensed, countered more than est. 30 or more liters of "party grade" Helium.) in the Texas environment and some of the lighter-than-Nitrogen gases such as methane are easily shown to rise; however, methanol or ammonium or water molecules must be de-condensed and putting these liquids into balloons might be a method of making them molecular by simply radiating them in a kitchen microwave oven. I didn't get around to anything but ordinary faucet water - except a very small amount of ammonium hydroxide in a small round balloon made such a fireworks (light flashes) display that I decided not to even mess with methanol because of retained oxygen in the ballon. If the water sample that was inserted in the balloon before microwave radiation was too large, the fact that all the water molecules were evolved at the same moment usually meant the balloon would burst before human control could shut the process down. If too small the molecular volume ceased growing when the sample was exhausted and recondensation occurred - an important fact was revealed when it was noticed that a non water gas, probably carbon dioxide which is renowned to be highly soluble in water did not recondense. When the charge was just right M/L, and the latex was expanded to some ideal thickness, the molecular water gas would flow through the pores in the latex and the condensation of the water outside the balloon would occur but not without the volumetric collapse of the plastic container in which the process was isolated - it was the plastic bottle that previously held 40 ounces of peanut butter.

When I ran out of round balloons I started using "bird shaped" latex balloons that had a protusion of a head in one direction and a tail in the opposite direction - partial recondensation apparently was happening and that was evidenced by the bird figure rocking more or less continually.

I finally got down to the long slender latex balloons that I charged with some ideal amount of water and which I placed in the bottom of the tightly closed plastic bottle. With this arrangement I was to be royally entertained by a truly plasma gas which can only be explained, I surmise, as follows: the long slender balloon which was actually shorter than the periphery of the cylindrical bottle, grew plumper and longer with radiation and ultimately over lapped its opposite end thus making a circular conducting path (that was not the slightest impeded by the two layers of latex between the ends) and which lighted up magnificently but seemed somewhat unsteady - possibly because of the pulsing wave nature of the radiant source. There can be no doubt, I believe, that ionization of water molecules or even atomic fragmentation might have occured.
If I still have your attention I would like to ask about your source of a LANL report that showed that there was sufficient unburned plutonium 239 in a spent fuel rod to make a so-called "nuke".

Incidentally, I finally got a 9-inch round balloon to rise in the microwave environment because of water molecules or ionic plasma - Of course, I realize that the volatility of whaterver gas is there, is also dependent on the elevated temperature, but then at any lower temperature condensation happens. Thanks for your audience, Jim Osborn

6. Apr 2, 2005

### SpaceTiger

Staff Emeritus
In fact, this happens very rapidly in supernova remnants. The elements heavier than iron are built up by colliding neutrons with with charged nuclei. The "neutron-heavy" isotopes then beta decay to form elements with more protons.

7. Apr 2, 2005

### sid_galt

Thanks for the help

8. Apr 2, 2005

Microwave vs ionizing radiation; steam vs plasma

It was not an ionization phenomenon at all. Microwave radiation is non-ionizing.

9. Apr 2, 2005

### Morbius

I agree - microwave radiation is non-ionizing.

You need to get to frequencies in the upper ultra-violet or X-rays and
above to be ionizing.

Neoclassic certainly did not make a plasma with his microwave.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

10. Apr 2, 2005

### Uno Lee

If I put a florescent bulb (with all the external metal parts removed) in a micro-wave oven, wouldn't it glow? Isn't this ionization?

11. Apr 2, 2005

### NEOclassic

I didn't quite finish

Hi again good Dr.

After I discovered that my water sample expelled disolved carbon dioxide I chanced, while thinking that the radiation created merely molecular water, that to test the process as a desalinization thing, might be of interest. Noting that the salt remained crystallized in the balloon alright but that the residual freed CO2 was still in the balloon. I was just thinking that I might adjust the solubility constant of CO2 to hopefully reduce the retained volume. To that end I saturated another identical sample of the saline solution with Sodium bi-carbonate. There was such an elegant flashing light display that I never noticed whether or not the CO2 gas had disappeared. This experiment had been conducted in a closed plastic bottle and in a 7" round latex balloon. The volume of the original sample was .05 milliliters. The plastic had been grotesquely misshapen, The volume of desalinated water was > 0.075 ml, not counting a patina of visible surface moisture and inside the balloon was a mixture of white and yellow crystals the latter of which I might surmise were simply Sodium Carbonate. I believe that the magnetic radiation was somehow responsible for the redox that removed the proton from the bicarbonate and created half of a new water molecule with it.

Perhaps electrons are not completely removed but in order to get a photon when a simply excited electron hits that massless quantum field is certainly evidence of some excitement force. Another recent contributor to this string has pointed out truthfully that halogen gas in light bulbs as well kernel gases in bulbs light up in a pulsed sort of way even when an incandescent filament has already been burned out.

May I suggest that those of the responders to my little experiment who doubt my veracity or my speculations that for less than a couple of bucks for balloons mostly and the family microwave oven, you too can become the happy fool you accuse me of being. I have pictures of the light and I will listen to any sensible argument that can explain light production as a consequence other than that proposed here. Cheers, Jim Try it, its rather cheap and you'll have more fun than you've had since Jr High science.
P.S. Dr. I would dearly appreciate the source of that "nuke" from spent fuel rod item. Thanks.

12. Apr 2, 2005

### Uno Lee

Do microwaves transmute into electricity when they hit metal? I think the ammonium ion behaves like a metal, thus explaining the "light flashes." I don't think (though I wouldn't want to try) that the methanol would ignite unless there was a metal (or metal-like ion) in the oven too.

13. Apr 2, 2005

### Davorak

I agree that NEOclassic did not ionize anything with the microwave. However he did create a plasma by adding ammonium hydroxide to water. The technical definition of a plasma does not require an atomic ionization to be occur. Salty water is consider to be a plasma.

The microwaves then pulled the ions away from each other. The sparking he observed happen when the solution(or vapor) reached the break down voltage, causing an arc.

Edit:
NEOclassic much of what you say is filled with gramatical errors. I am certainly not great at this either. However the gramatical errors make it hard to understand you. I sugest you reread your post before you post.

Last edited: Apr 2, 2005
14. Apr 2, 2005

### Uno Lee

Is this why a metal spoon will spark in the microwave?

15. Apr 3, 2005

### Davorak

Yes but in metal the electrons are moved around and the ions will stay still.

16. Apr 3, 2005

### Morbius

Davorak,

A physicist would not call that a plasma.

Yes, salt in water disassociates into positive ions and negative ions -
but that is not a plasma.

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci864603,00.html

In a plasma, the negaive charges are free electrons - you don't have
that in salty water - all the electrons are still bound to atoms.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Last edited: Apr 3, 2005
17. Apr 3, 2005

A plasma is a type of gas. Water is a type of liquid.

18. Apr 3, 2005

### Davorak

I just took undergrad plasma physics last semster and batery acids as well as electons in plasma where considered a plasma.

An ionized gas is certainly the most common definition on the web.

Another defintion would be:
Plasmas are conductive assemblies of charged
particles, neutrals and fields that exhibit collective effects. Further, plasmas carry electrical currents and generate magnetic fields. Plasmas are the most common form of matter, comprising more than 99% of the visible universe.

But I like the defintion:
electromagnetic (Maxwell-Boltzmann)** systems
http://www.plasmas.org/basics.htm

Also disscused before:
https://www.physicsforums.com/archive/topic/t-59693_How_is_cold_Plasma_possible?.html [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
19. Apr 4, 2005

### Morbius

Davorak,

You took undergrad plasma physics last year - and I have a doctorate
from MIT and work in plasma physics at Lawrence Livermore.

Salt in water is just an ionic solution.

What gives a plasma its unique properties is that sea of free electrons.

You have electrons that are not bound to atoms - therefore they are able
to move more freely - have longer mean free paths.

They are similar in many respects - but an ionic solution like salty water
or battery electrolyte is NOT a plasma.

[Gads - what are they teaching these days.]

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Last edited: Apr 4, 2005
20. Apr 4, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Not to beat this horse too much more, but neither that link you provided, nor the PF thread referenced support your assertion.

21. Apr 4, 2005

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Unfortunately out there in the world, there are other definitions for plasma.

1. a.The clear, yellowish fluid portion of blood, lymph, or intramuscular fluid in which cells are suspended. It differs from serum in that it contains fibrin and other soluble clotting elements.
b. Blood plasma.
2. Medicine. Cell-free, sterilized blood plasma, used in transfusions.
3. Protoplasm or cytoplasm.
4. The fluid portion of milk from which the curd has been separated by coagulation; whey.
5. Physics. An electrically neutral, highly ionized gas composed of ions, electrons, and neutral particles. It is a phase of matter distinct from solids, liquids, and normal gases.

However in the context of Physics, and this is PhysicsForums, and particularly with respect to fusion, definition 5 is the appropriate definition.

22. Apr 4, 2005

### Morbius

Plasma as defined by the Plasma Dictionary at
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:

"Term: Plasma Definition: Known as the "Fourth State of Matter", a
plasma is a substance in which many of the atoms or molecules are
effectively ionized, allowing charges to flow freely. Since some 99% of
the known universe is in the plasma state and has been since the Big Bang,
plasmas might be considered the First State of Matter. Plasmas have
unique physics compared to solids, liquids, and gases; although plasmas
are often treated as extremely hot gases, this is often incorrect.
Examples of plasmas include the sun, fluorescent light bulbs and other
gas-discharge tubes, very hot flames, much of interplanetary,
interstellar, and intergalactice space, the earth's ionosphere, parts of
the atmosphere around lightning discharges, laser-produced plasmas and
plasmas produced for magnetic confinement fusion. Types of plasmas
include - Astrophysical, Collisionless, Cylindrical, Electrostatically
Neutral, Inhomogeneous, Intergalactic, Interstellar, Magnetized,
Nonneutral, Nonthermal, Partially Ionized, Relativistic, Solid State,
Strongly Coupled, Thermal, Unmagnetized, Vlasov and more."

A good definition from Gettysburg college:

Or courtesy of the University of Texas at Dallas William B. Hanson
Center for Space Sciences:

http://utd500.utdallas.edu/~kivanc/index_fut.html#Plasma [Broken]

Another defintion would be:
Plasmas are conductive assemblies of charged
particles, neutrals and fields that exhibit collective effects. Further, plasmas carry electrical currents and generate magnetic fields. Plasmas are the most common form of matter, comprising more than 99% of the visible universe.

Then you should have noted the definition from the classic text in
electrodynamics by Jackson:

"An ionized gas should be called a plasma when the length scale which
separates short range and long range behavior is short compared to the
length scale of interest. Not all ionized gases are plasmas. For example,
a very dilute gas of a few moving charged particles, interacting pairwise,
is not a plasma. The conduction electrons in a metal are not a plasma,
either. It is not always easy to tell if something is a plasma, really.
Crudely, if you have to consider the inertial effects of the positive and
negative charge carriers in the dynamics (say, in response to an applied
electric field), then you've got a plasma."

It's when you get electrons with long mean free paths - like when the
gas is very hot - or the gas is very rarefied that you get a plasma.

The ionic solutions don't qualify on either count - they are more like
the conduction electrons in a metal.

When you study more advanced physics and learn about things like the
Debye length [ what the Debye length is in a plama, which is different
than the Debeye length in an electrolyte ] - you will better understand

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
23. Apr 4, 2005

### Davorak

Ok I can except that I have the wrong definition.

Let me make sure I have this one right.

"An ionized gas should be called a plasma when the length scale which
separates short range and long range behavior is short compared to the
length scale of interest."

I translate this to good debye shielding.
${\lambda}_D\ll L$
${N}_D\ggg 1$

How is debye shielding different an ionic liquid does one of these fail?

"The conduction electrons in a metal are not a plasma,
either. It is not always easy to tell if something is a plasma, really.
Crudely, if you have to consider the inertial effects of the positive and
negative charge carriers in the dynamics (say, in response to an applied
electric field), then you've got a plasma."

This statement is self evident in meaning. I see how this fails for conduction elections in a metal, but I do not see this failing in an ionic solution. Since the charge carriers and neutrals can all be made a similar mass you would have to take them into account when applying an electric field.

Chen also gives the retraction of $\omega \tau \gg 1$. This also fails for a ionic solution.

"It's when you get electrons with long mean free paths - like when the
gas is very hot - or the gas is very rarefied that you get a plasma."

I thought counter example for this would be a super dense plasma say found in a star.

24. Apr 4, 2005

### Morbius

Davorak,

Because a plasma and an ionic liquid have different Debye lengths.

For a plasma:

${\lambda}_D = \sqrt{ {\epsilon_0 k T_e T_i} \over {n_e q_e^2 ( T_i + Z T_e) } }$

whereas for an ionic liquid:

${\lambda}_D = \sqrt{{\epsilon_0 \epsilon_r k T} \over {2 N_A e^2 I}}$

Additionally, you don't get the separation in temperatures in an ionic
solution that you get with a plasma. That's why the Debye formula
for the plasma has [itex]T_e[\itex] and [itex]T_i[\itex]; whereas the
ionic solution has just T. You can't get separation of the electron and
ion temperatures in an ionic solution, because the electrons are still
bound.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Last edited: Apr 4, 2005
25. Apr 4, 2005

### Davorak

"Additionally, you don't get the separation in temperatures in an ionic
solution that you get with a plasma. That's why the Debye formula
for the plasma has [itex]T_e[\itex] and [itex]T_i[\itex]; whereas the
ionic solution has just T. You can't get separation of the electron and
ion temperatures in an ionic solution, because the electrons are still
bound."
Yes, but I did not think this separation was necessary for the definition of a plasma.

What does I stand for in the ionic equation? I is usally current but that does not make sence.