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Subatomic particles propagating through steel?

  1. Jun 8, 2015 #1
    How does a subatomic particle that has a mass propagate through the steel container of a bubble chamber? Wouldn't this require that the subatomic beam melt the steel enclosure of the bubble chamber and produce a hole so that the subatomic particle, that have a mass, can enter the bubble chamber that contains liquid hydrogen, therefore, creating a massive explosion. Doesn't the bubble chamber looks a lot like a hydrogen bomb. Did the hydrogen bomb physicsicts do tests to see if the radioactive isotope, used to create a hydrogen bomb, was stable in liquid hydrogen then discovered the bubble tracks? Did the particle physics insert an isotope within the bubble chamber to create the bubble tracks? Maybe.? Those sly little devils, you! Are there any old bubble chamber around? Wouldn't be hard to test for radioactive radiation. There would be trace amounts somewhere in the bubble chamber?
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Steel, as every solid material, is mainly "empty" space. You have tiny nuclei, and point-like electrons between them.
    Other particles can easily pass through if they have sufficient energy.
    A hydrogen bomb uses nuclear reactions, not chemical reactions as conventional bombs. This has nothing to do with a bubble chamber.
    That part does not make sense.
  4. Jun 8, 2015 #3
    Steel, as every solid material, is mainly "empty" space. You have tiny nuclei, and point-like electrons between them.
    Other particles can easily pass through if they have sufficient energy.


    But an electron beam cannot propagate through glass, and light cannot propagate through an opaque material. Also, I think what he is saying is that if the subatomic particles cannot propagate through the steel of the bubble chamber then how would you explain the ionization tracks and the reason that hydrogen liquid is used in the bubble chamber. I agree that there may be a possibility that nuclear physicist are fooling us but its unlikely yet he does bring up a good point. Your explaination that empty space of solid allow for subatomic particle does not explain why photons or high energy electron beam cannot propagate through an opaque barrier or steel without producing a hole in the steel
    since photons are pretty small and if a subatomic particle has a mass well thing that have a mass, in my recollection, cannot propagate through solid matter but maybe its like star war and the laser sword make the solid into a liquid, like liquid hydrogen. Also, why don't they just use a wire gird between the target and the bubble chamber to verify if the subatomic particle really exist. If the bubble chamber is grounded (shielded) I don't think anything can penetrate steel without producing a hole in the steel. They seem to be something amiss like he saying. Also, how does the subatomic particles propagate through the initial target. I'm stating to have misgivings about particle physics since what have they really accomplished since we still burn fossil fuel for energy which is light years away from hyperdrives and all that. Would it be nice if we came up with a new source of safe the renewable energy.
  5. Jun 8, 2015 #4


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    2018 Award

    Give them enough energy and they will.

    Increase the frequency (and thus energy) of the light far enough and it will penetrate. This is why gamma rays require such dense, thick shielding to block them.

    Because then the liquid would escape through the grid.

    Things do not work the same way at the atomic and subatomic scale as they do on our scale in everyday life. A subatomic particle like an electron can indeed penetrate into and/or through a material without leaving a hole. However, if the particle has a high enough energy, it can displace the atoms in the material and the accumulated displacements can eventually lead to structural failure.

    The problem of developing a clean, efficient energy source is not trivial. Scientist and engineers have been working on the problem for decades, and their work shows in the continual increase in efficiency of mechanical and electronic devices and power sources of all types.
  6. Jun 9, 2015 #5


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    photons are as small as electrons... they are point-like particles in our understanding.

    How would mass play such a crucial role as to say that it can't propagate?
    What about the massless photons? Shoot them in lead and they won't propagate as much in it either.

    Nevertheless, what is to happen depends on the interactions that occur and their probabilities, and not on billiard balls hitting one another. There is a probability that the particle won't interact at all...
    The photon for example can ionize an atom, it can scatter on it and it can produce a pair of particles/antiparticles. All these depend on the photon energy.
    The same thing is true for any other elementary particle you decide to introduce. That elementary particle can undergo some interactions in the matterial that it penetrates which (after you can determine) can either lead you to the conclusion that your matterial is a good shield or to that your matterial is transparent to your particles.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
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