Fictional iron chemical reactions

  • Thread starter jerich1000
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I am a mechanical engineer who is writing a science fiction novel where a means has been discovered to temporarily reduce the mass of the nucleus of certain 56Fe atoms. When a certain field is applied to the iron, it gets lighter. When the field is removed, the iron regains its original mass. If the field is applied more strongly, the iron begins to behave more like manganese or even chromium. And, ultimately, if the field is applied more severely still, the nuclei begin to experience fission.

OBVOUSLY, this cannot happen in real life, but if it could, then what would happen in the following cases:

(Please don’t get down on me for acting a “hypothetical” question in this forum. Even though the question is hypothetical, the answer, I believe is interesting and can provide a good learning opportunity.)

1) The compounds Fe2O3, Fe2O3•3H2O, FeCO3, Fe3O4, and FeS2, and others, are all natural ores of iron found in nature.
2) If the mass of the iron were reduced sufficiently such that behaved more like manganese, would the Fe (fictionally) most likely be rejected from the above compounds?
3) Would it be rejected as a gas, or would it precipitate out as elemental manganese in solution—until the field is removed and the manganese-ish material would return to elemental iron?
4) Would these reactions be endothermic, since the oxidation of Fe into the compounds in 1) above are exothermic?

Thank you for your help.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Borek
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[URL]http://www.chemistry-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/heisenberg.png[/URL]

In case you miss the point - your question is so detached from reality, any answer will do. There is no logic to build on.
 
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  • #3
alxm
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As the iron's mass is reduced, it no longer chemically acts like iron, but more like manganese.

So.. you're assuming your readers haven't heard of isotopes and aren't aware that the mass of a nucleus has almost no effect whatsoever on its chemical properties?
Since there are likely not compounds such as Mn2O3, Mn2O3•3H2O, MnCO3, etc.

All those compounds exist.
wouldn't those compounds break down?

I'd expect a change in crystal structure, at most.
If this could possibly happen in real life, would the Mn precipice out in solution?

What solution? You're talking about solid ores. I don't know what you mean by precipice, since there's nothing to do with the edge of a cliff here. Perhaps you meant "precipitate", but that's a completely different word, and I know writers choose their words carefully.

On the other hand, I'd also expect a writer to be keen on reading. Perhaps even reading the forum rules right here, where it clearly says:
Posting the same topic (or homework question) across multiple forums or multiple threads is considered spamming and is not allowed. (No cross-posting.)
 
  • #4
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Let me rephrase my question:

If, hypothetically, a material substance containing a bunch of chemical compounds containing iron, such as Fe2O3, Fe2O3•3H2O, FeCO3, Fe3O4, and FeS2, was somehow altered such that the Fe in each case were changed to manganese, what would happen?

Would the Mn be entirely rejected from those compounds? Does the compound Mn2O3 even exist? If not, then wouldn't the Mn break away from the O3, and you'd end up with a bunch of Mn and excess oxygen?

If I were a chemist I could answer this question myself. Since I am not, and you folks are, could you please help me out?
 
  • #5
chemisttree
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The field effectively masked the mass and charge of one proton. The electrons were unaffected and are now in a unbalanced condition... there is one extra electron per former iron atom. A mole of iron would result in a mole of electrons. And those electrons would occupy a rather small volume. These electrons would create an immense electric field around the iron containing material and would try to fly away from each other quite vigorously. The resulting pressure from the reactive force of these electrons migrating away from the target would result in immense pressures. When the field was turned off, the nascent iron, bereft of the lost electric charge, would attract it back. Again the target would be subject to immense pressures and heating effects. No iron alloy was ever found that could withstand the treatment. The technology found its first application in the initiation of nuclear weapons. The latest generation of fusion weapons are initiated with this radiation as was the first controllable hydrogen fusion reactors for power generation. Frozen pellets of deuterium/tritium mixture were covered in thin iron foils and initiated with brief pulses of the field. The price of oil plummets....

The application of this field in weapons design had similar results. Any organism that contained any significant amounts of iron rapidly became a pool of steaming goo when treated with this horrific weapon.

An entire new field of metallurgy came into being to handle the generation and containment of the field since it quite rapidly destroyed any steel device, spring, bearing, structural component and so forth.
 
  • #6
Borek
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This started in PM, but I guess it is worth of being put here (note one important difference between original question and the one presented here - charge of nucleus has not changed):

jerich1000 said:
I am writing a novel which includes the ability to decrease the mass of ONLY 56Fe...WITHOUT changing the number of protons and neutrons.

Not much will happen then, as alxm already signaled - we are just talking about something like different isotope. Differences between properties of substances of identical chemical composition but different isotopic composition are in most cases negligible. They are pronounced most in the case of compounds containing hydrogen, as the difference in relative masses between H and D (deuterium) are large (D being twice as heavy). Check properties of heavy water vs properties of water.
 
  • #7
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Thank you all for your generous help and knoweldge, and for the time you spent trying (successfully) to be helpful.
 
  • #8
chemisttree
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This started in PM, but I guess it is worth of being put here (note one important difference between original question and the one presented here - charge of nucleus has not changed):

Yes thats true if you only consider the original post. OP changed the requirements in a later post, to wit...

If, hypothetically, a material substance containing a bunch of chemical compounds containing iron, such as Fe2O3, Fe2O3•3H2O, FeCO3, Fe3O4, and FeS2, was somehow altered such that the Fe in each case were changed to manganese, what would happen?

More than just mass is altered in this statement.
 
  • #9
Borek
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You are right. As I wrote earlier, we were discussing by PM what defines element identity, that ended in the clarification of the idea.
 

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