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deuterium and nuclear fusion


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Report this Feb. 09 2003, 4:54 pm

is duterium used in nuclear fusion and if it is, then aren’t trek ships powered by a kind of nuclear fusion????


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POSTS: 228

Report this Feb. 09 2003, 5:45 pm

!Warning! !Long article!
If you want to know how deuterium relates to Star Trek (and don’t want to know how fusion works) skip to the bottom now.

First you get hydrogen. It is the simplest element with one proton and one electron. This hydrogen is then heated to between 2 and 20 million degrees Fahrenheit to produce a substance called plasma, the fourth state of matter.
solid --- liquid --- gas --- plasma
It is a state when the electron (normally orbiting the nucleus) gets ripped off and free-floats around because of the extreme temperature.
Note: plasma is extremely hard to contain because it vaporizes anything it comes in contact with so it must be contained with magnets. This is why fusion is so hard to produce safely.

The next step is two protons collide. The reaction is:
proton + proton + energy
--- to ---
deuterium nucleus (1 proton + 1 neutron)
neutrino (very small uncharged particle)
positron (the anti-matter version of an electron - it soon collides and annihilates a stray electron)

The next step (which happens very soon) is:
deuterium nucleus + proton + energy
--- to ---
Helium-3 nucleus (2 protons and 1 neutron)
lots of energy (the main source of energy from fusion reactions - it starts out as gamma rays and then loses energy shifting in to the visible and infared spectrum)

The final step is:
Helium-3 nucleus + Helium-3 nucleus
--- to ---
Stable Helium-4 nucleus (2 protons + 2 neutrons)
2 protons (just itching to start the cycle all over again)

In Star Trek, while it is not really explained in any detail, I think they use deuterium for:
1)Using in the matter-antimatter reactor (as the matter) because when they manufacture (or find) anti-matter it might be an assortment of protons, neutrons, and electrons. (of which deuterium has all 3 - and if they didn’t use it, they might have an excess of anti-neutrons floating around!)
2)For use making into antimatter (theoretically antimatter might be more easily made with deuterium (???))
3)For use in their backup fusion reactors
4)For use in other systems that use fusion instead of getting main power


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Report this Feb. 09 2003, 10:43 pm

Just to give everyone an idea of how powerful and how much energy we can get out of fusion just think about a hydrogen bomb.

When I think about something like a hydrogen bomb I don’t really look and think about it as a bomb, but the possibilities of it as a future source of energy in the future.

A hydrogen bomb uses lithium deuteride (it’s made up of lithium-6 {I think, I’ll have to check into that} & deuterium). The actually process for this bomb to go off is kind of like the atom bomb. Uranium goes through fusion, tritium combines (from a thermonuclear reaction) with deuterium, and then the neutrons strike the uranium. This can produce 25 megatons of energy! (that’s actually 1,000 times stronger then a atom bomb in WWII, which is in fact very scary)

Just imagine if we could get that energy out of that! The possibilities would be endless . . . Space Travel, there would be no more energy crisis, . . .

Master Q


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Report this Feb. 10 2003, 1:28 pm

You may not be too far off.
I just seen a segment on the news showing President Bush
at a inventors consortium, and The yalready have prototype
"Hydrogen cell- CARS!
imagine that. in 25 or more years we may be pulling up to the "water pump" to refuel our vehicles.


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Report this Feb. 10 2003, 8:13 pm

President Bush has also approved the NASA project called "Prometheus". It is nuclear propulsion research. Nuclear really is the future to space travel (or at least for the future of tomorrow). Not only that like I said if we can get that power out of something like the "hydrogen bomb", and then just imagine the possibilities of it and its usage for space travel.

Master Q


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POSTS: 1058

Report this Feb. 11 2003, 1:02 am

Nuclear energy is the energy source of the future.

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