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B Penning traps

  1. Jun 6, 2016 #1
    My question may be a naive but I'm going to ask it anyway. If we now have the ability to trap antimatter what is stopiping us from using them to trap the antimatter produced in thunderstorm? Or other areas for that matter? Is there a way that we can come up with to inject a trap into a storm?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2016 #2

    berkeman

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    Welcome to the PF.

    How do thunderstorms produce antimatter?
     
  4. Jun 6, 2016 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    You have a few million volts, so you can have the reaction e- → e+e-e-.

    The fact that flying in a thunderstorm is freaking dangerous.
     
  5. Jun 6, 2016 #4

    berkeman

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    Thanks! Is that only in the lightning strike path, or everywhere between the charged cloud and the ground?
     
  6. Jun 6, 2016 #5

    e.bar.goum

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    You've got to get the antimatter into the penning trap. Probably not impossible, but tremendously difficult, considering that said antimatter will annihilate fairly quickly.

    The question to ask is: To what end?

    What could we learn from trapping antimatter from storms? Is it worth the time and the cost?
     
  7. Jun 6, 2016 #6
    I believe that it is most important to continue the "to what end" investigation. We already know that the collusion of matter and antimatter create an enormous amount of energy, and we know that we can trap said antimatter, so the question is...how do we contain and harness the energy created by the collision?
     
  8. Jun 6, 2016 #7
    Also to answer Bergman I think it happens only between the stratosphere and the storm.
     
  9. Jun 6, 2016 #8
    Sorry berkman autocorrect and all.
     
  10. Jun 6, 2016 #9

    e.bar.goum

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    There's just no way that would be worth doing.

    2*511 keV per e+e- pair. This paper reports http://arxiv.org/pdf/1505.03782.pdf order
    5.0×1012 positron annihilations per second in a 2000m radius volume for each event, each of which lasts 0.2s. So the total power is a whopping 4 Watts. And that's not including the fact you're not going to collect all the positrons and you cannot convert that to electricity with 100% efficiency. Even plus or minus a few orders of magnitude, this isn't worth it.
    http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=2*511keV*5*10^12+/0.2s

    I did the calculation, and found the paper because I knew you wouldn't take my word for it. But you could have done this for yourself.

    Frankly if the power from antimatter was worth it, we'd be using the many terrestrial sources of positrons to power things. The fact that we're not should tell you something.
     
  11. Jun 7, 2016 #10

    A.T.

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    We aren't even using the electrical power of the thunderstorms, because it's not economical. Collecting their antimatter is even worse.
     
  12. Jun 7, 2016 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    I don't think this is completely understood. In particular, cause and effect is not so clear: when you have a stroke, you have large currents that produce these showers. But when you have these showers, you also have ionization, which can trigger a breakdown. And for good reasons (and the ones the OP pooh-poohs) it's difficult to instrument thundershowers in detail.
     
  13. Jun 7, 2016 #12

    Nugatory

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    This thread started with the question:
    That question has been answered and the thread is closed.
     
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