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Homework Help: Diamond light energy reactor.

  1. Jun 6, 2012 #1
    Hi guys I wonder if anyone could help me help my son create an energy source for his school project.

    All my son is allowed to use (he doesnt have to make it just proove it might work) is a perfect diamond with 6 equal sides all lengths the same size (like 2 pyramids base to base), Matter (all the known elements), an unlimited amount of pressure, EMfield, EMforce voltage and the sun (which is matter but it also produces light energy).

    If anyone can come up with any Ideas Id be really greatful, Thanks - Kelvin.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2012 #2
    (1) Use matter to build a magnifying glass (SiO2 or Al2O3 should work). Focus sun onto the diamond and set it on fire (for best effect add some oxygen from your matter supply). The burning diamond will give off heat = energy source.

    (2) Diamond can be seen as wide band gap semiconductor. Dope with the appropriate matter and make a solar cell out of it. You might use a limited amount of pressure to reshape the diamond into something more appropriate for a solar cell.

    (3) Sell diamond at Christie's (make World out of matter if necessary) and buy a conventional power source, anything from a battery to a nuclear power plant, depending on the size of the diamond. Or solar panels if you must use the sun.

    (4) Set diamond to the side. Apply limited amount of pressure to some organic matter leftovers for a few million years. Wait until organic stuff turns into oil or coal. Burn what you get, using some oxygen from you matter supply. Use sun and magnifying glass to start the fire if using the sun is required.

    (5) Apply loads of pressure to your diamond until you get C+C-->Ne fusion. Hide behind the sun to evade the gamma radiation.


    If your son does decide to build one or several of these energy souces, please tell me which, where and when. I might want to take a vacation on the other side of the planet. :-)
  4. Jun 6, 2012 #3
    C+C? is that light squared, Im not very well informed on some things, thanks.
  5. Jun 6, 2012 #4


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    The C+C is a reference to fusion of carbon atoms. I'm afrain M Quack is being facetious.

    I'm puzzled by the comment "allowed to use (he doesnt have to make it just proove it might work) is a perfect diamond with 6 equal sides all lengths the same size (like 2 pyramids base to base), Matter (all the known elements), an unlimited amount of pressure, EMfield, EMforce voltage and the sun (which is matter but it also produces light energy)." Obtained a 'perfect' diamond in the form of a tetrahedron is problematic. Using Matter (all known elements)? An unlimited amount of pressure? Does unlimited also apply to EMfield and EMforce?

    Does the statment, "he doesn't have to make it just proove it might work" mean that this is primarily an exercise in calculation?

    At what grade level is this project?

    One could obtain some inexpensive solar cells and a (Fresnel) lens to compare available energy with and without a lens. In other words, place both cells in the sun, but then place a Fresnel lens over one cell, with the cell at or close to the focal point. Note a difference in current/energy between the two cells.


    Assuming unlimited pressure or energy is a rather unreal assumption. We are constrained by mechanical limits (strength) of materials, particularly as temperature (energy density) increases, and tensile strength is reduced.

    Compared to the earth, the sun is essentially an unlimited source of energy, but we cannot recreate the conditions of the solar core on earth.

    We can produced plasmas of very low density in which we can accomplish some fusion of isotopes of hydrogen on a limited basis.
  6. Jun 6, 2012 #5
    Mildly put, the project is unclear and unrealistic. I proposed solitions in the same style - mostly.

    What puzzles me most is the diamond in a weird shape as a centerpiece (it is the only thing described in some detail).

    The shape is not a tetrahedron, that can hardly be described as "2 pyramids base to base". It is not an octahedron either, as it has to have 6 sides (sides? edges? faces?).

    A tetrahedron has 4 faces and 6 edges. An octahedron has 8 faces and 12 edges. You can get diamonds in roughly octahedral shape, but (111) is not an easy cleavage plane, so it would be very very diffcult to polish a perfect one (therefore it should fetch a handsome price at Christie;s). A simple cube is more common. That has 6 faces, of course, but again can hardly be described as "2 pyramids base to base".

    So in view of all these obscure and unrealistic boundary conditions, I think the Carbon-Carbon fusion solution best fits the style of the question. After all it is a proven method of releasing energy, powering thousands if not millions of supermassive stars at the end of the life cycle.
  7. Jun 6, 2012 #6
    I will remember and give you good notice :)

  8. Jun 7, 2012 #7

    Chi Meson

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    As far as the shape of the diamond, if all edges are the same, it would probably be two tetrahedrons base to base. That would be six-faces, nine-edges. I agree that it is odd to be so specific about the diamond's shape, but then allow any "matter" to be included.
  9. Jun 7, 2012 #8


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    I am not sure about the interpretation of that:
    - something which can be used to extract energy, similar to oil or solar radiation? In this case, the diamond can be used as fuel, similar to the first concept of M Quack.
    - something which provides electric energy?
    -- Use your access to "EMforce voltage", it provides electric energy.
    -- Use your unlimited access to pressure and compress air, build a generator.
    -- Build any suitable device from "matter", ignore the other stuff.

    Not really.
    The diamond with a specific shape and the sun could be a hint that solar radiation should be used in some way to do something, but it is completely unclear what and how. At the same time, all devices on earth just consist of "matter" in specific shape.

    No, just stars.
  10. Jun 7, 2012 #9
    Even stars get old and eventually die.

    Some turn gray and fade away. Some turn red and go out with a bang.
  11. Jun 7, 2012 #10
    This is the shape my lad was handed...


    I wonder if using the shape in question might create EMforce and field, thus producing voltage? I hear diamonds can make reasonable super conductors.
  12. Jun 7, 2012 #11
    Shape has no relation with superconductivity at all.

    For diamond to superconduct, you have to dope it with Boron. For my personal esthetics, a "perfect" diamond would have to be pure=undoped.

    Also, "reasonalbe" in this case means that superconductivity exists below about 4K=temperature of liquid helium. That is even colder than a rainy weekend in Hamburg.

  13. Jun 8, 2012 #12
    Sounds like a good super conductor would be a 'sub'stance under such pressure that it enters a state we do not know of. I hear when matter becomes dense it becomes heavy and cold, almost as if the matter starts a sort of funnel effect sucking in all available energy a bit like a black hole.

    Matter under extreme pressure must get very cold with all of that energy it sucks in and if I apply the house hold freezer rule of thumb as a stable example of this action but turn down the temperature gauge (more toward kelvin) the liquid within the cylinders will become colder and heavier but the motor will become warmer, a bit like the mirror effect but in a different 'light'. Now Im pretty sure that as long as there is a conductor light can and will travel with that conductor so is it possible that there is actual light, not as we know it traveling through miles of our dense cold rock?
  14. Jun 8, 2012 #13
    Nope. Compressing things usually heats them up.
  15. Jun 8, 2012 #14
    it heats the compressor up yes but the substance being compressed, well you'll have to read this Im afraid.

  16. Jun 9, 2012 #15


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    Compressing heats the substance. Compression increases the boiling point. These are two different effects.
    To liquify air, the final step is to expand the air to cool it below the boiling point.

    Good electrical conductors are usually opaque. This is not by accident, as both properties are related to electron levels in the material. There are some exceptions, but they are rare.
  17. Jun 9, 2012 #16
    So if I wanted to turn matter in to a liquid in minus temperatures how would I need to set about it as I think that will be an important step in the right direction. I am ok with creating the energy source above ground, I just need to make one of opposite potential and from what I can gather if matter is dense (metal) It will take a hot flame to turn it to liquid, and to turn not very dense matter (liquid) in to a solid I need a cold flame.
  18. Jun 9, 2012 #17


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    The usual way to cool something, if peltier elements or similar concepts cannot be used:
    Compress a gas (air is fine, if your target temperature is not below the boiling point of air at atmospheric pressure). It heats up during compression, cool it down to room temperature again. You now have compressed air at room temperature. Let the air it expand, it gets colder than room temperature.
    If that is not cold enough, compress more air, cool it down to room temperature, use the cooled air to cool it down even further. You now have compressed air, cooler than room temperature. Let it expand to cool it down even further.
    These steps can be repeated, until you get liquid air (neglecting the issue that the air is a mixture of gases with different boiling points), where this cooling method does not work any more.
  19. Jun 9, 2012 #18
    Could it be done with a pure gas, maybe hydrogen?
  20. Jun 10, 2012 #19


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    You can liquify hydrogen with in this way, no problem.
    I still don't see the point in making gases liquid here.
  21. Jun 10, 2012 #20
    It sounds like a good conductor and solid state for an octahedron shaped diamond to sit in. If the diamond is a cool enough solution will it become a good super conductor?
  22. Oct 13, 2012 #21
    Cancri 55.
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