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Separation and Combination of Elements

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posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 08:19 PM
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Can we separate heavy elements, say uranium or plutonium, into lighter elements, say hydrogen and helium? Can we combine elements like hydrogen and helium into uranium and plutonium?

How much effort, research, and dollars are being spent on these two practices?

One can imagine an infinite year life expectancy on Earth for all humans, animals, and plants if these two practices were perfected.




posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 10:59 PM
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First you can talk to jesus, I think he can add subtract atoms at will !



posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 11:15 PM
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en.wikipedia.org...

Yes you can, it is called 'nuclear fission'.

It also occurs naturally through radioactive radiation, and, depending on the element, can take millions of years, a fraction of a second, or anywhere in between, but is a fixed number for each element.

Going the other way is 'nuclear fusion'. This occurs naturally in the sun, and has been done in labs on earth. For example, in the sun, hydrogen naturally fuses into helium, and gives off tons of energy as it does so. Eventually, all the hydrogen will be gone, and the helium starts fusing into heavier things. For reasons I'm not too clear on (and if I recall, science can't explain yet) this natural process stops with iron, and that's when the sun will die, in a few billion years.

So yeah, scientists can separate or fuse elements into different ones, but it is, at the moment, not very easy. It's done every day in nuclear powerplants, and is behind the explosive power of atomic bombs.



posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 09:33 PM
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posted by GreatTech
Can we separate heavy elements, say uranium or plutonium, into lighter elements, say hydrogen and helium? [Edited by Don W]


Others have already responded. May I add? Uranium is #92 on the Periodic Chart. The last of the naturally occurring elements. Or so we thought. As the early work on nuclear bombs progressed - the Manhattan Project - it was discovered there is some plutonium (element #94), as well as its precursor, neptunium, #93, found in nature. That is, naturally occurring. One poster pointed out the normal life of an average star produces all the elements up to and including iron. #26 on the chart. Elements above iron on the chart are made only in super-novas. That is, exploding stars as opposed to dying stars. Because our bodies contain many elements above iron, some evolutionists say we are products of exploding stars.

The rarest element is astatine, # 85, symbol, “At,” estimated to be not more than 25 gm (.9 oz.) on the planet. The most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, by weight, is oxygen. Element #8. The element hydrogen, OTOH, is Number 10 of the most abundant, by weight, but element #1. We’re talking about the earth’s crust, not necessarily the whole planet. The interior of the earth may contain a sphere about 1,500 miles across, made up of molten nickel and iron. From hence cometh our magnetic field. Without which there would be no life on this planet. Element #14, silicon - sand - is number two in abundance, and element # 13 aluminum - but aluminium in England - is the 3rd most abundant element. Iron is the 4th most abundant element.

Alchemy was the medieval effort to transmute elements. Usually they were trying to make gold out of lead or some other so-called base metal. Copper, tin, etc. I suppose it is theocratically possible to do that, but it would cost much more than either gold or lead. I also suspect you could start with a ton of lead and end with an ounce of gold, too.

That is the current problem with the popular hydrogen gas solution to fossil fuel prices and contamination. Someone will say that you can break down water into oxygen and hydrogen with a 9 v. battery. Which is true. The problem is scale. The 9 v. battery will produce enough hydrogen to make a small “puff” when lighted with a match. The amount of hydrogen gas needed to run a motor car is so many orders of magnitude greater that it would take 100os of 9 v. batteries to get enough to run just a few minutes. Possible, but impractical. There is no cheap way to replace gasoline, and no way at all that will ever be cheaper.



posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 11:24 PM
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Originally posted by DragonsDemesne
en.wikipedia.org...

Yes you can, it is called 'nuclear fission'.

It also occurs naturally through radioactive radiation, and, depending on the element, can take millions of years, a fraction of a second, or anywhere in between, but is a fixed number for each element.

Going the other way is 'nuclear fusion'. This occurs naturally in the sun, and has been done in labs on earth. For example, in the sun, hydrogen naturally fuses into helium, and gives off tons of energy as it does so. Eventually, all the hydrogen will be gone, and the helium starts fusing into heavier things. For reasons I'm not too clear on (and if I recall, science can't explain yet) this natural process stops with iron, and that's when the sun will die, in a few billion years.

So yeah, scientists can separate or fuse elements into different ones, but it is, at the moment, not very easy. It's done every day in nuclear powerplants, and is behind the explosive power of atomic bombs.


you cannot fuse hyrdogen or helium into a heavy element such as uranium, so in response to the original authors question, the answer is NO.

However the fission of uranium will create a large number of stable and radioactive isotopes of the various elements.



posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 01:09 AM
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Oops. Yeah, porky is right, I must have misread something in the original question. Fusing hydrogen and helium into uranium isn't going to happen. Fusion itself is possible, though, for certain.



posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 06:37 PM
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No sadly porky1981 is wrong because its only when a star collapses that heavier elements are made (like uranium). This process takes more energy than it produces (hence the fact that stars don't like iron because that’s where things start getting endothermic rather than exothermic). www.mariner.connectfree.co.uk...

So the answer to the original question is yes, but it won't save the universe ether because to turn iron into uranium you need more energy than you get out of it. Therefore that energy must come from somewhere; and given that energy has been leaking out the universe over a massive area since its creation, even a super energy pump would have great difficulty.

Also energy pumps tend to lower the frequency of some of the starting energy in order to increase the frequency of the rest of the pumped energy. Even when light hits a mirror some of it has been knocked down a frequency or two. However there may be a way (for all I know) of making a super effective energy pump because I’m not too sure how the energy knocked down a frequency corresponds to the total concentration of the other "pumped" energy.

The reason why we have uranium on the earth is because the earth was made long after the universe. Before that time the stuff in our solar system was just a massive dust cloud that collected over billions of years. Some of that dust ended up containing the products of collapsed stars (which of course had finished their life way before the earth was made). The universe is thought to be 12-14 billion years old. map.gsfc.nasa.gov...
Whilst the Earth is known to be roughly 4.55 billion years www.talkorigins.org...
The earliest life is thought to have began 3.85 billion ago
www.panspermia.org...
But to complicate things it is now widely accepted that another planet crashed into the earth during its early stages, the splash is thought to have formed our moon. news.nationalgeographic.com...
(Do Google search “earth crashed planet”)
Of course if this planet did contain life (like frozen bacteria) they would have a lot of lava to contend with following the big splash. But who knows how things worked out?



posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 07:15 PM
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I thought we had adopted a "convention" that we'd use 13.4 billion years as the time since the Big Bang.

New York Times for May 26, 1999
Hubble Telescope Yields Data for Recalculating Age of Universe
In an analysis of recent observations and other research, Charles H. Lineweaver, an astrophysicist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, put the age for the universe at 13.4 billion years, plus or minus 1.6 billion. The estimate took into account low values for the mass density of the universe and the presence of a "missing energy" source like the cosmological constant.

Other links
www.space.com/scienceastronomy/earth_age_040817.html - 45k - Jun 4, 2006 -
www.evolutionpages.com/age_universe_astro.htm -
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/352563.stm



posted on Jun, 6 2006 @ 02:31 AM
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Thanks for the link, Liberal1984. I never knew why it was that iron was the element at which stars started collapsing. When I was taking a thermodynamics class for my engineering degree, my prof mentioned that part about iron. When I asked him after class why it was that when fusion went past iron that the star collapsed, he didn't know. The explanation in that link makes perfect sense, though.




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