August 3, 2006

Is This Repeatable, And If So Why?

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:30 pm

Slashdot points to a rather strange experiment involving radioactive decay.  It doesn’t quite fit the model, since decay is one of those things that’s supposedly unable to be changed–or, at least, I can’t change lambda for americium isotope whatever as far as I know.

The leader of the German-based group, Claus Rolfs of Ruhr University in Bochum, is an astrophysicist and made the discovery about alpha decay after replicating the fusion reactions that take place in the centre of stars. Using the university’s particle accelerator he fired protons and deuterons (nuclei containing a proton and a neutron) at various light nuclei. He noticed that the rate of fusion reactions was significantly greater when the nuclei were encased in metals than when they were inserted into insulators. He also observed that the effect is enhanced at lower temperatures (J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 32 489).

I dunno.  Sounds from the press report as though there’s a hypothesis being fit to the results using a big crowbar.

3 Responses to “Is This Repeatable, And If So Why?”

  1. Vigilis Says:

    “He also observed that the effect is enhanced at lower temperatures”. -Which may add (or not) to understanding another strange phenomenon called “cold fusion.” Metals, insulating properties and low temperature, while at quite different magnitudes, defy conventional, scientific theory in both cases. This discovery may even advance the standard theory conundrum. Thanks for sharing, Chap.

  2. MMDeuce Says:

    It’s been a while since I took quantum mech. but I don’t think it works that way. I see no problem with the theory of using an external E field to help fuse nuclei, but I don’t think external E fields have any effect on the internal energies of the nucleons, which is what governs decay.

    This seems to me like saying you can influence the behavior of semiconductors by putting a large mass next to them. They’re two totally different forces at completely different strengths. I’d like to see some independent repetition. Right now I’m betting these guys are seeing what they want to see.

    Oh, and Vigilis, cold fusion isn’t supposed to happen at liquid nitrogen temperatures. It’s supposed to happen at room temperature (or slightly above), which is only cold when compared to the temperatures where fusion normally takes place in the center of stars.

  3. Vigilis Says:

    Deuce, I read the whole article and concluded if the decay phenomenon is proven real it may add (or not) to understanding another strange phenomenon called “cold fusion. Of course ambient temperature of a room is higher than liquid nitrogen temperature, and that was my point: the reported effect happens way above absolute zero. Sorry I was not too clear.

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