# Particle Accelerators effects on Earth

• azabak
In summary, the conservation of angular momentum is crucial in particle accelerators, which use the Earth's rotational kinetic energy to generate collisions. However, the amount of angular momentum involved is incredibly small compared to the Earth's overall momentum. Even if we were to somehow stop the Earth's rotation, the energy and momentum used by particle accelerators would not be significant enough to have any impact. Other factors, such as launching objects into space and driving on highways, have a much greater effect on the Earth's rotation.
azabak
Since particle accelerators need to be a cyclical structure in order to generate the collisions it has associated to it an angular momentum. Due the conservation of angular momentum we use the rotational kinetic energy of Earth itself to supply them.
Take, for example, a particle accelerator that is operating aligned with the axis of rotation of the Earth. If it was able to generate angular momentum in the same direction of the Earth's rotation could it, if supplied with enough energy, stop the rotation of the Earth?

azabak said:
Since particle accelerators need to be a cyclical structure in order to generate the collisions it has associated to it an angular momentum. Due the conservation of angular momentum we use the rotational kinetic energy of Earth itself to supply them.
Take, for example, a particle accelerator that is operating aligned with the axis of rotation of the Earth. If it was able to generate angular momentum in the same direction of the Earth's rotation could it, if supplied with enough energy, stop the rotation of the Earth?

Not sure you appreciate the scale here. Particle accelerators move very tiny amounts of atoms. Microscopic amounts.

True, when accelerated to relativistic velocities, they can pack quite a punch. In an article about the LHC, they suggested that stepping in front of a beam of particles would be like getting hit by a truck. That's a lot of momentum for a few tiny particles - but it's about a thousand billion billion billion times smaller (1021) than the Earth's momentum.

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azabak said:
Since particle accelerators need to be a cyclical structure in order to generate the collisions it has associated to it an angular momentum. Due the conservation of angular momentum we use the rotational kinetic energy of Earth itself to supply them.
Take, for example, a particle accelerator that is operating aligned with the axis of rotation of the Earth. If it was able to generate angular momentum in the same direction of the Earth's rotation could it, if supplied with enough energy, stop the rotation of the Earth?

First off, accelerators don't need to be circular, they can be linear as well.

Secondly,
http://xkcd.com/162/

azabak said:
Since particle accelerators need to be a cyclical structure in order to generate the collisions it has associated to it an angular momentum. Due the conservation of angular momentum we use the rotational kinetic energy of Earth itself to supply them.
First off, as DaveC already noted, the angular momentum here is tiny.

More important, due to the conservation of angular momentum, almost all of that angular momentum is eventually transferred back to the Earth. There is some lost angular momentum in the form of neutrinos, but that is tiny, tiny, tiny.

You're tilting at the wrong windmill. If you want a windmill to tilt against, think about us evil aerospace engineers. Every one of the satellites sent up to geosynchronous orbit, and every one of the probes sent to other planets, is launched to the east precisely because this king of launch let's us steal a tiny bit of the Earth's rotational angular momentum, thereby making the launch a bit cheaper.

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The energy we use comes partly from the Earth and partly from the Sun. Sending things into space, creating faster vehicles, accelerating particles, all this uses our available energy. Even it being a huge discrepancy still exist.
We didn't expected to have climate problems some thousand years ago, but now we know that humans can indeed affect significantly the cosmic environment.
Imagine if in the next millennium we have problems like "putting Earth back on its rotation axis".

Like others, I suggest you work the numbers out.

The round-a-bouts on the highways have a greater effect than particle accelerators.

alexg said:
The round-a-bouts on the highways have a greater effect than particle accelerators.
Aw, horror! We need to make every second one to go round the other way to compensate!

This is why some countries have to drive on the wrong side.

DaveC426913 said:
Not sure you appreciate the scale here. Particle accelerators move very tiny amounts of atoms. Microscopic amounts.

True, when accelerated to relativistic velocities, they can pack quite a punch. In an article about the LHC, they suggested that stepping in front of a beam of particles would be like getting hit by a truck. That's a lot of momentum for a few tiny particles - but it's about a thousand billion billion billion times smaller (1021) than the Earth's momentum.

Isn't that the energy of being hit by a truck?

If I compute the momentum with p = E/c (quite accurate for particles with a kinetic energy so much larger than the rest-energy), I get:

p = 7.7 Tev * (number of protons) / 3*10^8 m/s = 7.7*10^12 * 1.6*10^(-19) * 5 * 10^14 / (3 * 10^8) = 1.9 kg m s^(-1).

This is more like the momentum of a pigeon.

data from here:
http://accelconf.web.cern.ch/accelconf/e92/pdf/epac1992_1545.pdf

Of course the large hadron collider uses two beams that go in opposite directions, so the net effect is 0.

## 1. How do particle accelerators affect the Earth's environment?

Particle accelerators have a minimal impact on the Earth's environment. They produce very small amounts of radiation, which is closely monitored and controlled. Most accelerators are also designed to be shielded, preventing any potential harm to the environment.

## 2. Can particle accelerators cause earthquakes or volcanic eruptions?

No, particle accelerators cannot cause earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. These natural phenomena are caused by movements within the Earth's crust, which cannot be influenced by particle accelerators. Accelerators also do not have enough energy to cause such powerful geological events.

## 3. Are there any long-term effects of particle accelerators on the Earth?

There have been no observed long-term effects of particle accelerators on the Earth. The small amount of radiation produced is not enough to cause any significant changes to the environment. Additionally, accelerators are constantly monitored and any potential risks are carefully managed.

## 4. Could a particle accelerator accidentally create a black hole?

No, particle accelerators cannot create a black hole. The energy produced by accelerators is not enough to overcome the strong force that holds atoms together. Even the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the Large Hadron Collider, is not capable of producing a black hole.

## 5. Do particle accelerators contribute to climate change?

No, particle accelerators do not contribute to climate change. They use a small amount of electricity, which is often generated through renewable sources. In fact, particle accelerators are used in research to better understand and address climate change by studying the properties of atmospheric particles and their effects on the environment.

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