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Neutron capture of lithium-6

  1. Nov 5, 2014 #1
    I would like to ask if any of you can comment on the thermal neutron activation of lithium in order to produce energy as a cold fusion-like process?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2014 #2
  4. Nov 5, 2014 #3

    e.bar.goum

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    The thermal neutron cross section isn't very big. http://www.nndc.bnl.gov/atlas/atlasvalues.html and the energy release isn't especially large. Q~7 MeV. Though, the Q value is sufficiently large that there's a good chance you'd breakup the resulting 7Li (QBU = -2.47 MeV), so that'll complicate things. Indeed, 6Li + n -> a + t is a way to breed more tritium in fusion reactors.

    Then you have to get a thermal neutron source from somewhere, so you're basically running a nuclear reactor, so why don't you just use that as a power source?
     
  5. Nov 6, 2014 #4
    There are more than one way to get neutrons:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_source
    (Incidentally: Could some nuclear waste be used in order to do so?)
    In case a nuclear reactor was the best choice, there is a reason of scale: A much smaller reactor is required to produce enough neutrons than to obtain the overall energy expected from the combined device...
     
  6. Nov 6, 2014 #5

    e.bar.goum

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    Yes, I didn't mention other neutron sources as they wouldn't be what you'd end up using. You just can't get the flux from a AmBe source, as convenient as they are.
     
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