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Mass Expansion/Particle Accelerators

  1. Apr 21, 2004 #1
    Hi its me again, sorry for my ignorance of physics.

    Anyways, I was reading on the net about how an objects mass increases as it approaches the speed of light thus making further acceleration rather hard.

    My question is this, we have been accelerating electrons for years now and have gotten them pretty close to the speed of light in particle accelerators. What is the practicle effect of this acceleration. Why doesnt that electron gain an enormous amount of mass and burst through the walls of the particle accelerator?

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2004 #2


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    The electron gains relativistically increased energy so it can smash through the electric charge of nucleii and smash them, creating new particles or by its change in energy detecting their constituents.

    In some representations of relativity the relativistic gain in energy is seen as a gain in mass. The same physical effects occur, it's just that the equations are a little different.

    The electrons are raised to something like a trillion electron volts of energy, but that is nowhere near enough to smash therough the walls of the experiment. Even so, these modern accelerators are buried so that radiation if it leaks out, won't hurt anybody.
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