Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Blindman, Apr 16, 2003.
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Does that mean that we can finally use fusion reactors to generate electricity, "so cheaply that it's not worth the trouble of metering," as they promised fifty years ago? And the waste material will be so compact that we don't need to designate and entire state as the dump and figure out how to write DANGER signs that people will be able to read 25,000 years later? We can just pack it all into a small rocket and shoot it into the sun once a year? Wow, that will be perfect!
Sandia is researching "cleaner" H-bombs ignition, by replacing the Plutonium with another medium to produce the initial x-ray / gamma bombardment.
What they research is a spiral made of metal wire and apply a sudden very high voltage to it, just before the wire melt it will generate a strong magnetic field for a short time. In this short timeframe, the wire will vapourize and the resulting plasma will bounce away with such speed that as a reaction massive x-ray photons will be emitted. Actually the russians have found a crude cheap method to create the high voltage pulse, the use a crude EMP-bomb instead of expensive bulky capacitors.
NoW, nanomaterials could play a nice role in such a setup, if you make the spiral wire of nanomaterial with superconducting material, you could easily gradually buildup a large reservoir of electrons and then suddenly do something to make the wire loose it's superconducting quality (raise temperature for instance) I bet that you could far more x-rays so that you can even ignite fissile material of less than weapon grade purity.
Also one could study semi-cold fusion concepts by injecting H atoms in spiral nanotubes and apply the same trick on a very small preciuse scale (hopefully this razor instead of axe approach would allow you to have more costefficient fusion) But this is still highly speculative....
Why would we want to use a nanobot to create cold fusion? The power produced from the single atom would be minimal and likely to be unobtainable, the bot would be destroyed, a chain reaction is unlikely as most of the energy would be dispersed (as well as having the nanobot in the way of other fusioning atoms).
Besides is it not bad enough almost every other area of science is being used to kill people why add another to the list. Scientists have a responsibility that goes beyond both their company/institution and countries, it saddens me to see that people still give into their childish selfish instincts. Stick to Sex and Drugs for fun, war is just ultimatly self-destructive.
Now nanobots that could reproduce pharmacuticals is far more productive, especialy when it occupies our power-hungry leaders forcing them to ban certain types of research by falling for unproven public hysteria over an issue which does not ultimatly give them more power, and maybe more control over its own citizens!
I don't think the kind of nanobot that you're talking about would work to fuse atoms together. In fact, I don't think any nanomachine that would function like a machine that we would use at the macroscale would work at the nanoscale, because everything works much differently at those different levels. I think the bonds would break apart with the forces involved, IF it actually came down to that.
Also, try to think about what it's really like at that small scale. In aqueous solution at STP, atoms vibrate at 10 GHz. In each cycle, they move about half their diameter. Imagine trying to manipulate that. Impossible. We would definitely have to change our ideas about machinery at the nanoscale. We can't simply take what we already have and make it smaller.
The perception of physics changes a lot even at small scale differences. At your size, a drop of water is quite small. Shrink down to the size of an ant. Now it's quite large. Walk into it. Interact with it. Everything is totally different. This is a small change in scale. Shrink down to a billionth of a meter. Anyway, you get the point.
Biomimicry is our answer.
Nanotechnology is really the manipulation of atoms and molecules; it has nothing to do with fusion. To make nanotechnology work we can certainly take inspiration from biochemistry; we have nanoscale processes occuring in our bodies constantly, using enzymes and DNA, for instance.
To achieve fusion, and to manipulate protons and neutrons to create new elements and energy, would take technology on a much smaller scale- the picometre scale. Dr Hugo de Garis has suggested the name Picotechnology for such a science and branch of engineering.
Crude picotech already occurs in nuclear reactors when fusion produces energy or new elements ; creating tiny machines to manipulate subatomic particles may never be possible, but if it were, the results could be justifiably reffered to as Alchemy.
posted this in General Science, but this thread seems more into place:
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