1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Hydrogen fusion

  1. May 22, 2012 #1
    The most difficult aspect of hydrogen fusion is overcoming the electrostatic forces that cause the hydrogen nuclei to repel each other.

    Would it be possible to place one of the nuclei inside some conducting sphere like a Buckminsterfullerene so that the fullerene acts as a Faraday cage?
    The fullerene would have an induced negative charge on the inner surface, and an induced positive charge on the outer surface. When the second nucleus is brought nearby, the positive charge on the outer surface will accumulate on the side of the cage further away, and some negative charge would accumulate on the side closer to the outside positive charge.
    Would this setup effectively weaken the strength of the electric field that either one of the nuclei encounters?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2012 #2

    K^2

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You don't even need to construct a shell. Drop an electron on orbit with a proton. You get a hydrogen atom. That electron shell already neutralizes the proton's charge. That's why you can stick two hydrogen atoms together.

    The problem is the size difference. Protons are on the order of femtometer. Hydrogen atom is on the order of an angstrom. That's 10,000 times too big. And the reason for that is electron's mass. They are just too light. What you need is a particle with similar properties, but significantly heavier. And we have one. Muon works just fine. And indeed, muon-catalyzed fusion is a thing. Look it up. You get significant fusion rates even at room temperatures.

    Trouble is, muons have short half-lifes, and they are difficult to produce in high quantities without high energy losses. If you could find a way to produce muons at near 100% efficiency, you could easily have cold fusion.
     
  4. May 23, 2012 #3
    What's the process in which the muon takes the place of an electron of the H2?
     
  5. May 23, 2012 #4
    Search on Wikipedia this may be helpful to you.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook