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Charge Conservation

  1. Jul 26, 2009 #1
    I've been thinking about this for a while, my personal example was a nuclear explosion, but I'm talking in general about events in which matter is converted to energy..
    Sticking to my original string of thought, in a nuclear detonation, matter is transformed into energy. But matter consists of particles that do or do not possess electrical charge. And I thought of the Charge Conservation Law. How could matter be transformed into energy, making charge... well.. disappear..? I think I might have an answer to my own question, but it's always good to be sure.
    I thought that maybe those particles have to be transformed in pairs, each consisting of two particles of opposite and equal of absolute value charges.. That is if a particle with X charge is converted into energy, then a particle of -X charge must also be converted.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2009 #2

    nicksauce

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    Yes you're right. Charge conservation must always be true, so particles can only annihilate with their anti particles (For every charged particle, there is another particle of equal mass but opposite charge known as its anti-particle). Electron + positron -> 2 photons is the most common example.

    A nuclear explosion is different though, since anti-particles are not involved. Rather the protons and neutrons that are already present are re-arranged in such a way that allows for the release of energy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
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