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Why is it impossible to change the number of protons of an atom?

  1. Dec 13, 2011 #1
    Why is it impossible to change the number of protons of an atom? Is it because the protons are in the nucleus? How can we change the number of neutrons then?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2011 #2

    Pengwuino

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    Are you speaking of changing it in terms of using chemical reactions? Protons and neutrons are tightly bound to the nucleus. The amount of energy required to remove one is far greater than the energy typically found in chemical reactions.
     
  4. Dec 14, 2011 #3
    Perhaps philosophically, if you change the number of protons of an atom, it no longer retains the identity of that atom.

    So for instance adding 2 protons to an atom of carbon changes it to oxygen.

    It's certainly possible to amend proton numbers, look into radioactive decay, nuclear fusion and fission for instance
     
  5. Dec 14, 2011 #4

    Pengwuino

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    How is any of this philosophical? If an atom gains or loses protons, it is a different element.
     
  6. Dec 14, 2011 #5

    Borek

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  7. Dec 14, 2011 #6
    I assumed it would be impossible, because if it were possible, I figured people would take the cheapest element, turn it into gold, and sell it for huge profits.
     
  8. Dec 14, 2011 #7

    D H

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    It is possible to turn lead into gold (and vice versa). Chemical reactions don't cut it; the energy is too low. Chemical reactions leave the nucleus intact. What can be done is to bombard the lead (or gold) with the right kind of high energy particles at the right energy.

    It isn't cheap. The costs involved in turning lead into gold is a whole lot more than the value of the gold produced.
     
  9. Dec 19, 2011 #8

    chemisttree

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    Well it might be unless you use this wonderful E-Cat reactor! Practically worthless nickel is transmuted into valuable copper in this reactor... all while providing valuable thermal energy as well! :wink: I'd link to the E-Cat site but the Forum rules forbid links to crackpot sites. Perhaps we could pool our money and buy one of these reactors and load it up with osmium and run it. In a few months we would have valuable iridium! Or maybe platinum!
     
  10. Dec 19, 2011 #9
    Sorry. I'm a bit slow. You're teasing crackpot pseudo scientists, right?
     
  11. Dec 19, 2011 #10

    Borek

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    Yes, he does. Don't read it, or we will have to ban you together with chemisttree :devil:
     
  12. Dec 19, 2011 #11

    chemisttree

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    Perhaps I should have used a few more "::wink::" or included a "::rolleyes::".

    DON'T GET ME BANNED!
     
  13. Dec 27, 2011 #12
    Thats what atom bomb is all about !:smile:
     
  14. Dec 27, 2011 #13
    Can we do it are you sure?
     
  15. Dec 27, 2011 #14

    D H

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    Aleklett, K. et al., Energy dependence of 209Bi fragmentation in relativistic nuclear collisions, Phys. Rev. C 23, 1044–1046 (1981)
    The results of cross-section measurements for the reactions 209Bi(12C,X)Au, E=4.8 and 25.2 GeV and 209Bi(20Ne,X)Au, E=8.0 GeV are reported. The observed yields of the gold isotopes show a similar dependence on mass number for each reaction, differing slightly in the position of the centroid of the distribution. As the projectile energy increases, the inferred excitation energy of the primary residues remains the same or decreases slightly. This observation is in agreement with the predictions of the intranuclear cascade model of relativistic heavy ion collisions.​
    Some of the intermediate products along the way from bismuth to gold were lead. This team, led by Glenn Seaborg, created gold. Very, very, very expensive gold.


    Or, in lay terms, Guinness World Records
    Most lead turned into gold In 1980, the reknowned (sic) scientist Glenn Seaborg (U.S.A.) transmuted several thousand atoms of lead into gold at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California, U.S.A. His experimental technique, which uses nuclear physics to remove protons and neutrons from the lead atoms, is far too expensive to enable routine manufacturing of gold from lead.​
     
  16. Dec 27, 2011 #15
    Thanks for reply also refer to http://chemistry.about.com/cs/generalchemistry/a/aa050601a.htm
     
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