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Question about charges

  1. Jan 8, 2015 #1
    I was thinking what would happen if an atoms charges swap places.
    Not like, the proton switching places with the neutron, their mass would be unchanged, but their charge would be different. Could this be possible?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2015 #2

    mathman

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    Your question is unclear. Where is this swap taking place?
     
  4. Jan 8, 2015 #3

    jfizzix

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    At least by modern understandings, charge is a fundamental property of a particle like its mass and spin. So physically, you'd never see an electron swap charges with a neutron.

    That being said, you could ask the question, "What would happen if all the charges in the universe were opposite their usual values?" This would be very similar to asking "what if the universe were made of antimatter instead of matter?"

    Surprisingly, not much, though there would be a measurable difference in some radioactive decay processes whether it's matter or antimatter
     
  5. Jan 8, 2015 #4
    Ok, so a proton is positively charged, right? And an electron is negatively charged. What if the proton was negatively charged and the electron is positively charged? There should be no difference in the orbit of the electron as the charges attract and the mass of the electron and the proton would be unchanged. That's the hypothesis I'm trying to get across.
     
  6. Jan 8, 2015 #5
    So THIS is antimatter... well, I have another question. If we could synthesize antimatter, a negatively charged proton, let's say, and a normal positively charged one. What would happen if they orbited? Would they be in a binary formation or would they just fall into eachother? And if so, what would happen if matter and antimatter collided?
     
  7. Jan 8, 2015 #6

    jfizzix

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    if a proton and an antiproton orbited each other, they would eventually annihilate, though for a short while they would orbit each other like the electron and proton in hydrogen (with masses scaling the orbitals accordingly). Such bound orbiting proton-antiproton pairs are sometimes referred to as protonium. (note: electron-positron orbiting pairs are called positronium). The reason they would annihilate is that they interact via the weak and strong nuclear forces as well as just the electromagnetic force.

    When matter and antimatter collide, they usually annihilate, producing at least a pair of gamma rays (high energy photons). The same ought to happen when protons and antiprotons collide.
     
  8. Jan 8, 2015 #7
    So, the matter and antimatter is turned into energy? And I'm guessing this is two different particles colliding... with several ones, I'm guessing that this could be a brilliant reactor, or a deadly weapon.
     
  9. Jan 8, 2015 #8

    sophiecentaur

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    You are referring to Antihydrogen, I think. Look at this wiki link.
     
  10. Jan 9, 2015 #9

    Drakkith

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    A proton and anti-proton would join together in a bound state to form a particle known as protonium. This bound state would only last for a few microseconds at best before the two particles annihilate each other.
     
  11. Jan 9, 2015 #10

    jtbell

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