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Cheap, clean, easy to create, and plentiful amounts of energy have been sought for a long time. The closest to this would be Cold Fusion. For the world today, cold fusion would be the best for our energy needs.
Charles Frank first devised the basic idea for Cold Fusion in 1947. At the time he was at Bristol University in England where the Physics Department was leading the world in the study of cosmic rays.
Cold Fusion is a possible form of energy. This energy is obtained as two atoms combine and they ‘fuse’ together. Normally this is hard to do because of the magnetic force that repels the two atoms, but Cold Fusion is essentially just that. In this process two atoms combine and ‘fuse’. When they fuse, the atoms release a huge amount of energy that can be captured and used towards today’s energy needs.
Cold Fusion started while the Bristol team was in the process of discovering that in addition to the light electron and heavy proton and neutron there are particles of intermediate masses, which they named ‘mesotrons.’ In particular they identified two mesotrons with nearly the identical masses but slightly different properties. One, which was slightly heavier, called ‘pion’ and one, which was slightly lighter, called ‘muon.’ The pion is unstable and decays quickly and produces a muon in the process.
Every day we are continuously hit with cosmic rays that are atomic particles dispersed from distant stellar catastrophes. Some of these particles make it to the earth surface; among these particles are muons, negatively charged particles similar to electrons in all aspects except that muons are 207 times heavier than electrons. They are basically ‘heavy electrons’ and can replace electrons in atoms to make ‘muonic atoms.’
The average distance of the electron from the central proton makes up the atom’s size. If the electron’s mass is increased 207 times (so that it is like a muon) while the muonic electron stays to the proton. Quantum Theory states that the electron would have to move 207 times closer to the proton to maintain stability of the atom. Normally the mass of an electron could not be changed, but if the regular electron were replaced with a muonic electron, the two atoms would be similar. There are two differences between the two electrons. First, is the muon is 207 times heavier than a normal electron, causing it to orbit 207 times closer to the proton. Second, the muons are unstable, having an average life of 2.2 millionths of a second. Needless to say the muonic atoms does not live very long.
This information is essential to understanding Cold Fusion. Since the muon can get much closer than the electron can, the newly formed muonic atom is 207 times smaller than a regular, atom which means that the muonic atom can get much closer to the nucleus of another atom without being repelled by the magnetic force. Therefore the chance of having the two atoms bump or collide is much greater and Cold Fusion becomes a real possibility.
Deuterium plays a very large part in the formation of Cold Fusion. Deuterium is basically ‘heavy hydrogen’. Deuterium is made of a proton and a tightly gripped electron without any electrical interference. Deuterium can replace hydrogen in water and the reaction is ‘heavy water.’ Heavy water is needed for Cold Fusion because the closer the electron is to the proton the more likely for the possible fusion.
With the presence of Deuterium, for example, the proton fuses with the deuterium nucleus forming Helium-3, which releases energy. This energy then will throw out the muon, which can form a chain reaction as it fuses other hydrogen together and again gets thrown out to again fuse others until the end of its life.
Cold fusion sounds like an easy form of energy to create but many problems were encountered along the way. First off, energy put into making muonic atoms exceeds the amount of energy retained from the actual fusion. Scientist tried many different methods of equaling or exceeding the ‘normal’ amount of energy displaced by using ‘heavy water’ and creating many more muonic atoms together but nothing seemed to work.
Second, the laboratories are very expensive to create and also to maintain
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Nuclear physics, Leptons, Nuclear fusion, Nucleons, Neutron moderators, Muon, Exotic atom, Muon-catalyzed fusion, Cold fusion, Deuterium, Neutron, Proton
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