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Thought about a subnuclear reaction

  1. Aug 4, 2016 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm an engineer student, so I'm not an expert in nuclear reactions and subatomic physics, but I had a little thought experiment and I was wondering if there were any reachable subnuclear threshold to improve energy production.

    Let's suppose a spherical (with IO) container of melted-salt thorium, for instance. This container is inside a second spherical container (with IO) of a liquid moderator. If we dispose "speakers" homogenously around the outter sphere that vibrates with a pulse of high amplitude at clock speed, the sound wave can be transmitted to the centre of the sphere where pressure increases tremendously (with minimal loss and sufficiently high amplitude).

    Then, in the center of the inner sphere, can't we reach a higher reaction threshold ?

    Thank you for reading until here and I'm looking for your opinion :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2016 #2


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    Gold Member

    Your basic idea is quite sound. It is called 'implosion' and it has been at the heart of nuclear weapons almost from the beginning.
    Robert Christy is generally credited with the research to make it work with plutonium bombs.
    Indeed, the Fat Man plutonium device used that same idea, except it had explosive lumps to provide the needed sound (pressure) pulse to compress the plutonium at the center enough for fission to take place.
    The devil is in the details, how to generate the needed pulses at the right frequency and intensity without disrupting the setup.
    Nowadays we are using laser pulses to provide the needed push for thermonuclear fusion experiments.
  4. Aug 4, 2016 #3
    Thank you for your answer, that was truly interesting :) (as I'm no expert)
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