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Cyclotrones etc.

  1. Jun 8, 2006 #1
    Heh... :smile: o:) I had thought (more of a question).

    At Wikipedia Cyclotron subject
    in te "Uses" section they mention only cancer-curing, and PET-imaging purposes of cyclotron mechanism, how psychodelic (the rainbow transluscently arcs across the sky and the flowers fall in happines :tongue2: ), but (comb my hair and call me grandpa) they spend bilions of euros, and dolars to make those HUUUUUGE structures (with the most capital 'H'),I mean, we all have propelers on our hats, but: what is the REAL purpose of it?

    I mean, it is highly non-credible that those who finanance such tremendous undertakings don't have a concrete motivation for it...

    It accelerates particles, it can cause nuclear reactions, produce substances that radiate all sorts of radiations... it can help us understand the nature of atoms, light, protons, electrons and all sorts of other physical phenomenons... maybe even the essence of matter itself... I'm trying to imagine some more concrete purposes for it... I don't know, but the questions seem interesting. Maybe it's supposed to function in connection with nuclear power plants (maybe to enrich some elements or make isotopes of Hydrogen (deuterium, tricium) for heavy water)... I don't know... That's why I ask.
    (and have in mind that they are making even biger ones (why? I mean why do they need larger and larger ones?))
    I've also seen some Hungerians talking about it (but I didn't understand a single word they've said) - they were showing some experiments with superconductors freezed with liquid nitrogen, and showing how when you apply force to the floating metal disk above it it stays in that position so you can pick the surface below... And then that cyclotron in Switzerland too large to fit its borders...
    It all seems funny enough.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2006 #2
    Or, shortly said:

    What is the REAL use of cyclotrons?

    (the reason why they invest bilions for such HUGE structures)
  4. Jun 10, 2006 #3
    one concrete use is to create neutron radiation through spallation(linear accelerators can be used for this aswell though)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spallation.
    Neutron diffraction( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_diffraction ) is very important in probing the structure of materials and this is very important for material science.

    It can also be used for cyclotron/synchrotron radiation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclotron_radiation and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchrotron_radiation) both important tools for spectroscopy and diffraction.

    So to sum it up. Its very important for material science. Examining new materials, advancing condensed matter physics ect.
  5. Jun 15, 2006 #4
    yeah... material research is one of the most important (if not THE most important) thing in the development of the civilisation (ever since people started using rocks...); in order to make things better (or even possible) people were always finding some new stuff to make things ot of it...

    ...But, what about those cyclotrons with energy so high that can cause fision - I mean: can they, for example, hit Uranium dust in mid-air with beam from the cyclotron and cause fison mini-explosion of the dust particles?
  6. Jun 15, 2006 #5
    Well you can create fission with those accelerated particles, in spallation for instance you get some fission depending on what heavy metall you use as target. But I doubt(someone correct me if Im wrong) that there can be any net energy gain. Those bad boys consume alot of power when accelerating the particles.

    From my limitied knoweledge I se no real point in triggering fission in this manner when it can be so easily acomplished in reactors.
  7. Jun 15, 2006 #6


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    I think you have some confusion about the uses of these accelerators and colliders (cyclotrons were just the original small versions, and the modern ones aren't technically similar to them, any more than modern computers are technically like the old vacuum tube ENIAC from the 50's).

    Fusion is being attempted in two kinds of ways; one is in equipment of the Tokamak type, where a plasma (electrified gas) is confined by a magnetic field and heated way up in hopes that it will fuse. The other is called inertial confinement and is most like your idea; powerful lasers are focussed on a tiny bead of material to compress it mightily, and the idea is that it will fuse so fast that there isn't time enough for the material to expand and weaken the action. In both these ways, the material used is isotopes of Hydrogen, not Uranium. These elements are at the opposite ends of the periodic table; Hydrogen is the lightest element and Uranium is the heaviest one that occurs in nature. So fission works for atoms of the heavy element splitting into lighter ones, while fusion works for atoms of the light element combining into a heavier one.
  8. Jun 22, 2006 #7
    ...However my point is not 'getting energy', but the force itself from those mini-explosions.

    (in nuclear reactors in thermo-nuclear powerplants you get raw heat from the nuclear fision, in nuclear weapons you get huge explosions (because of the critical mass that has to be achieved?)), what I'm talking about is a relatively small amount of force (small comparing to those gained in expl.of nuc.weap.), but still - explosions (sudden change in volume of matter))
  9. Jun 22, 2006 #8
    I'm talking about fision (exclusively).

    There it says that there are those huge structures that can produce rays that have energies high enough to split an atom when they hit it (and that's 'fision', and when you have a lot of atoms that are affected by it then the fenomenon observed is called 'explosion' - isn't it?) - so I ask: is it true?

    Is it true that speed-up praticles from such huge particle accelerators can cause fision explosion of e.g. uranium dust e.g. in mid-air when they hit them?
  10. Jun 22, 2006 #9
    So, once again, I am not talking about fusion.
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