?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Like magic

They say sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic. Considering that all elements are made of atoms, and all atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons, it may some day be possible to make gold from hydrogen, which would be the same sort of thing that alchemists were trying to do. In fact, some day it may be possible to assemble whatever atoms you want from a tank of protons, a tank of neutrons, make a plasma, and dunk the plasma in an electric field to add the electrons. (Or however it works. I think cooling of the plasma may be involved.)

But yeah, that would kinda prove the point.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
underlankers
Nov. 23rd, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
While this is true, what says that by the time science advances to this point that this is doable that gold will matter still?
fayanora
Nov. 23rd, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
LOL true.
elven_ranger
Nov. 23rd, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
and quantum fields. :)
fayanora
Nov. 23rd, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
Aye.
kengr
Nov. 23rd, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
Gold *is* made from hydrogen. The universe started out (well, when the Big Bang cooled enough for atoms to exist) as hydrogen and possibly some helium.

All else has been produced in stars.

Anything heavier than iron was produced in supernovas.
fayanora
Nov. 24th, 2009 10:54 am (UTC)
Indeed. But I meant, humans could do it too.
kengr
Nov. 24th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, we could. But the energy costs are kinda steep. Not as steep as (say) making antimatter, but steep.
fayanora
Nov. 25th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
If fusion reactors would normally supply power for a long time (did you tell me it was years? Or millennia?), I guess that means it would take a lot of energy to compress the time on that. I wonder if one could still get energy from that process while still compressing the time...
kengr
Nov. 25th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
The reactors can supply energy proportional to fuel usage (E=mc^2 and all that).

But creating an ounce of gold from (something over) an ounce of hydrogen involves a fair bit of energy.

Gold has an atomic number of 79. Which means there are 79 protons in the nucleus. Atomic weight is 197.

So that means an atom of AU-197 has 118 neutrons.

You'd need 197 hydrogen atoms.

197 hydrogen atoms (on average) mass 1.60309 amu more than an average gold atom. So for every unit of hydrogen converted to gold. 0.807% of that mass gets converted to energy.

So assuming *no* losses, converting a kilo of hydrogen to gold will create 991.9 grams of gold and release energy equivalent to a 170 kiloton nuke.

In reality, it'll likely take several kilos worth of energy (at over 20 megatons per kilo) to supply the energy to convert hydrogen into gold.

Edited at 2009-11-25 05:04 am (UTC)
fayanora
Nov. 25th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
Wowzer.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

mourning
fayanora
The Djao'Mor'Terra Collective
Fayanora's Web Site

Latest Month

October 2019
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Taichi Kaminogoya