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Can we remove/add electrons and protons from/to atoms to create other materials?

  1. Aug 27, 2010 #1
    Example:

    Take a hydrogen atom and make it a carbon atom.


    Can we do it with our current technology? If so, how do they do it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2010 #2
    I do believe that's how atomic bombs work, in an overly simplified way. Neutrons are shot into whichever radioactive element used in the bomb. It doesn't become a stable element (hence why it goes boom), but does create two different elements and extra neutrons which continue the reaction more quickly.

    I think there are some ways you can calculate how to mix different elements to create other elements together. Like mixing vinegar and baking soda creates carbon dioxide and something else... However, as far as actually turning one element into another by injecting or removing electrons and protons, I would assume it would require too much energy to be practical.

    But then again, it can be as simple as turning water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis, so it does happen!
     
  4. Aug 27, 2010 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Yes, it's called fusion, and it is the basis for fusion reactors and fuson bombs. It takes a LOT of energy.

    Reactors: not yet practical - the energy out does not yet exceed the energy in.
    Bombs: the fusion reaction takes so much energy that fusion bombs are triggered using atom bombs.

    Fusion bombs do this. Atomic bombs do the opposite. They break large atoms into smaller atoms.

    No, this is merely chemistry. You are not making elements.

    No, again, this is merely chemistry. The hydrogen and oxygen remain hydrogen and oxygen whether they are separate as gases or together as part of a water molecule.
     
  5. Aug 28, 2010 #4

    Borek

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    I think what you rote can be a little bit confusing.

    It takes a lot of energy to START fusion, but once started, fusion creates a lot of energy on itself. Given correct selection of material net effect is energy production. Look through the window :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2013
  6. Aug 28, 2010 #5

    DaveC426913

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    Did you read the next line?

     
  7. Aug 28, 2010 #6

    Borek

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    Yes - and I still thought some clarification won't hurt.

    Call me a nitpicker if you want :tongue2:
     
  8. Aug 28, 2010 #7

    DaveC426913

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    True. It was vague.
     
  9. Sep 6, 2010 #8

    DrDu

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    To mention one of the few chemically relevant processes: The first synthesis of Perbromate started from the 83-selenate. Beta decay of the selenium yielded for the first time macroscopic quantities of 82-perbromate.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
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