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Hafnium powered reactions

  1. May 5, 2004 #1
    Don't know if this is even the right place for this, but reading Popular Science? i think... anyway, they mentioned the fact that if you bombard Hafnium 178 with x-ray radiation, you get about a 50-60 fold return in gamma radiation. I don't know where to classify that...nuclear reaction? but it seems to me that you could use it pretty much anywhere. even in a modified internal combustion engine, where you'd simply put water that has hafnium ions in it into the piston, hit it with x-rays, get your gamma ray production, causing steam to force your piston up and then venting it... have the right concentrations of hafnium, recycle your water, and it looks like you've got an engine with a good power source...maybe even replacing gasoline? i dunno. forums are for comments. Hit me! (with your comments)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2004 #2


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    Gamma rays are nasty stuff. You don't want to be anywhere near something producing them without a nice lead shield.
  4. May 5, 2004 #3
    Nobody else has yet been able to recreate the results of the experiment.
  5. May 6, 2004 #4


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    In any case you can do the math; just supposse that hafnium splits (fission) to the best combination available and check the mass/energy differences.
  6. May 6, 2004 #5


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    Also, wouldn't you need a swimming pool to efficiently collect the gamma rays? I expect the mean path of gamma rays in water is very long.

  7. May 7, 2004 #6
    ok, i'm sticking w/ the gamma/typical engine concept just for ease. suppose you shield each piston, i'm wondering if you could dissolve the hafnium AND another substance(s) in the water, allowing for more efficient collection. could you still utilize the gamma radiation? a lot of ifs, i know, but if it worked...

    ok, so you shield every piston. that means the shielding material is dense enough to absorb the radiation in the first place, and that the energy will be released into IT. it's probably not ultra efficient, but it may be efficient enough IN THE SMALL AREA OF A PISTON to flash boil the water and heat whatever gas is in there enough to slam that piston up. you'd just need a tad more hafnium for the energy then you'd need for the swimming pool collection.
    -now you guys get to correct me. lol

    oh, and i don't think hafnium will split like a typical fissionable material, it is after all what they use as dampening rods IN a fission reaction to stop/slow/control it.
    Last edited: May 7, 2004
  8. May 7, 2004 #7
    They use Halfnium because it is an excellent neutron absorber. Halfnium can absorb 6 neutrons and the daughter particles also absorb neutrons. I believe each atom in a Halfnium rod can absorb up to 10 neutrons including the daughter particles (its been a long long time since I last made big atoms into little atoms).

    What you're proposing is a system that requires a halfnium atom absorb a high energy gamma not a neutron. I haven't read the work in question but I do recall hearing something to this effect and the energy release was do to a halfnium fission which sounds reasonable. If the Hf didn't fission then where would the extra energy come from?
  9. May 8, 2004 #8
    Last edited: May 8, 2004
  10. May 10, 2004 #9
    Correct; its an excited state that supposedly can be induced (by x-rays) to emit gammas. However, forget the more efficient steam engines stuff; we're talking awesome weapons potential here! :eek: Da, you engineers are all alike.... :rofl: :biggrin:

    P.S. Nice descriptive sites; :wink: However, there's been little reported independent evidence to collaborate the effect.
    Last edited: May 10, 2004
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