The Physics of Fireworks (Synopsis)

“Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.” -The Simpsons

When gunpowder was first invented more than 1,000 years ago by mixing activated carbon (charcoal), sulfur and potassium nitrate together, its first major application was to the development of fireworks. By combining four simple elements – a launch, a fuse, a burst charge and ignitable stars – the most spectacular explosive shows could be produced.

The anatomy of a firework. Image credit: PBS/NOVA Online, retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/fireworks/anat_nf.html. The anatomy of a firework. Image credit: PBS/NOVA Online, retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/fireworks/anat_nf.html.

Yet the design of each stage only works with the proper understanding of the science behind it, and in particular, of the physics underlying it all. To get the right height, shape, size and color for your firework, you have to master each component of each stage. And yet, the science enables us to do exactly that!

The altitude, size, and display of different fireworks. Images credit: Oracle Thinkquest (2011); the site was discontinued in 2013 via https://gitso-outage.oracle.com/thinkquest. The altitude, size, and display of different fireworks. Images credit: Oracle Thinkquest (2011); the site was discontinued in 2013 via https://gitso-outage.oracle.com/thinkquest.

Come get the full story on the physics of fireworks in prep for the greatest explosives show in the world!

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"Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it." -The Simpsons For those of you who aren't from the U.S. or U.K., this coming Monday is the day that my nation celebrates the birth of its independence. This date, of course, as Aimee Mann will sing to you, is the 4th Of…
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@Ethan wrote

Charcoal, in this case, is not the briquettes you use on your grill, which often contain no actual charcoal...

I'm calling BS on this. I know that may be true for briquettes used in other industries, but charcoal briquettes you use on your grill DO NOT often contain no charcoal. They often contain other ingredients in addition to charcoal, such as cornstarch, coal, limestone and borax, but not to the exclusion of charcoal. I'm interested to see if you can support this claim.

Nobody complaining about wind turbines' use of rare earth metals should EVER be using even a single firework.

MASSIVE amounts of rare earths are combusted merely to make a colour in the sky for a couple of seconds. And are thereafter unrecoverable.

"I’m calling BS on this. I know that may be true for briquettes used in other industries, but charcoal briquettes you use on your grill DO NOT often contain no charcoal. "

I;'m calling BS on this. I KNOW that this is false, and that the charcoal briquettes you use on your grill DO NOT often contain charcoal.

Chemicals have become cheaper and quicker to source, not to mention patentable...

Here is the official ingredients list for Kingsford charcoal, the leading brand (in the US at least). Yes, it contains real charcoal, plus a bunch of other things.

If you want 100% real charcoal, that's available too, both from Kingsford and other brands, as "lump charcoal".

Whichever you choose to use to cook your burgers - purist "lump" or techno-amalgam briquette - enjoy Canada day today and the 4th on Monday!

@Wow #2

You do know that rare earth minerals aren't actually rare, right?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/07/22/big-surprise-rare-ea…

We have plentiful sources for all of them, but the labor costs needed to mine them exceed the cost of simply purchasing them from China. If you really want to make a 'wasteful use' argument, you're way better off getting outraged over filling party balloons with helium.

@See Noevo #6

If you're in Mission Beach (where the clip was filmed) and you're more worried about guys who died hundreds of years ago than what is happening right in front of you, you're not doing life right. Sometimes the party is way more important than the excuse for throwing it, and San Diego (where Mission Beach is located) does it up right.

http://www.escapehere.com/destination/8-best-us-cities-for-celebrating-…

@See Noknowledge #6: Just curious, which "we" are you speaking of? Americans, who use fireworks as a remembrance and celebration of the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812? Canadians, who use them for public music festivals? British, who celebrate the defeat of the Gunpowder Plot? The list goes on, at least for those with a less provincial perspective.

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 01 Jul 2016 #permalink

@Michel Kelsey wrote

Americans, who use fireworks as a remembrance and celebration of the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812

Umm no.

Americans use fireworks because they're more spectacular and safer than firing guns in the air as was done of the first Independence celebration in 1776. July 4 is the day the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence which is why July 4 is called 'Independence Day' and not Fort McHenry day. The attack on Fort McHenry and the Battle of Baltimore occurred in September 38 years later. I think you are confusing the Independence Day celebration with the writing of the American National Anthem. "The rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air" was from Fort McHenry.

In keeping with the fireworks theme,
or especially with the Fourth of July theme,
here are some excerpts from an opinion in the WSJ
by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik:

“[Benjamin] Franklin, according to his own notes, proposed the following as the national seal: a picture of “Moses standing on the Shore, and extending his Hand over the Sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh who is sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his Head and a Sword in his Hand. Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Clouds reaching to Moses, to express that he acts by Command of the Deity.” Underneath the image, Franklin added, would appear the following motto: “Rebellion to Tyrants is obedience to God.”

Jefferson, as described by John Adams in his correspondence, suggested a seal that bore a different image, but also from the Hebrew Bible: “the Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by day, and a Pillar of Fire by night.”

… The American victory against the most powerful empire on earth was seen by many patriots as a miracle, a re-enactment of the Exodus itself. This sentiment was expressed by George Washington, who, in his 1789 letter to the Jewish community in Savannah, Ga., concluded his correspondence by invoking the “wonder-working Deity, who long since delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors . . . whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation.”

… Ultimately, the Continental Congress adopted the Great Seal familiar today, The front shows a bald eagle clutching an olive branch and 13 arrows (for the original states), and the back bears an unfinished pyramid of 13 layers—with the Eye of Providence overhead.

As we observe the Fourth of July, it is entirely apt for Americans to thank God for the miracle of the nation’s founding—and to express gratitude as well for the courage of the men and women who helped bring it about.”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 01 Jul 2016 #permalink

@9: indeed. I express my gratitude that during the Continental Congress' deliberations, wiser heads prevailed.

The LHC always makes me think of the combustion of fireworks … *sparks* flying around.

It's the massive amount in one please with a frequency and density a billion times higher than the single cosmic ray collisions that makes find that machine a spooky candidate to spark off a combustion scenario of sub atomic matter that could blow up our planet. Like how a spark can ignite a fôrest fire, or sparks that ignite the cas in a combustion engine.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 01 Jul 2016 #permalink

@Elle HC #12: But the LHC is *NOT* "higher than [a] single cosmic ray collision!" If you want to compare the two cases, you need to compare them in the same frame of reference. In fact, the highest energy cosmic rays produce collisions more than 1000 times more energetic than the LHC.

Cosmic rays have energies all the way up to 10^11 GeV (don't worry about the units, just the numbers), and they collide with atoms in our atmosphere which are at rest (so they have just their mass, a few tens of GeV).

The LHC collides protons with each other, where _both_ have energies of about 10,000 GeV (8 TeV to 13 TeV over the past few years). To get the equivalent "beam energy" for one of the protons hitting the other one at rest, you need to multiply the energies together, and divide out one of the masses (a proton is about 1 GeV): 10,000*10,000/1 = 10^8 GeV. That's 1,000 times smaller than the highest energy cosmic rays.

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 02 Jul 2016 #permalink

@Denier #5: Wow was plainly referring to complaints made by people other than himself.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 02 Jul 2016 #permalink

@Michael K. #13

The scientific consensus ATM is that: "The LHC collides protons at √s ≃ 14 TeV which is a factor of 50 smaller than the centre-of-mass energy of the highest energy cosmic ray so far observed, assuming primary protons."

Note, these collisions are rare only on now and then over a large region. At the LHC the collision rate is around 600 million collisions per second or a luminosity of 10^34 per square centimetre per second.

So what kind of fireworks do you think is the most intense, 1*50*X/day/100km^2 or 600.000.000*(1*X)/sec./cm^2

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 02 Jul 2016 #permalink

It’s the massive amount in one please with a frequency and density a billion times higher than the single cosmic ray collisions that makes find that machine a spooky candidate to spark off a spooky combustion scenario of sub atomic matter that could blow up our planet.

FTFY. You seem to have the order of the cart and the horse backward in any event.

"You seem to have the order of the cart and the horse backward in any event."

So someone is about to set your house on fire; and you are contemplating if the person who's about to do it is spooky or if the loss of your home would be spooky. Now that's the downside of intelligence. :)

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 02 Jul 2016 #permalink

So someone is about to set your house on fire

How long have (U)HECRs had to "spark off" the (undefined) "combustion scenario"?

I can't say, I haven't got a crystal ball, there's a catch 22 to find out you need to go over the limit to discover if it exists.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 02 Jul 2016 #permalink

Probably more young people know about the physics of fireworks than they do about WHY we shoot them.

Wee!!! Watch the pwity fiyawooks!

This perhaps ranks as the most stupid attention-whoring that S.N. has delivered to date. I take it that he hates children for the same reason that he hates women (viz., being deprived of them), but the attempt at emulating the speech of a three-year-old has no connection whatever to that which preceded it.

So someone is about to set your house on fire telekinetically

That's a slightly better analogy.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 03 Jul 2016 #permalink

Telekinetically in relation to the LHC that creates temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the center of the Sun, at a rate of a 600 million collisions per second. Seems like you're in denial that the LHC is the real deal and not some kind of hallucination. You do realise that they are actually playing with fire ATM in its most extreme form.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 03 Jul 2016 #permalink

Telekinetically in relation to the LHC that creates temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the center of the Sun, at a rate of a 600 million collisions per second.

You're conflating two entirely separate items here. Can you identify them? You may wish to consult a plumber or Sam the butcher.

You do realise that they are actually playing with fire ATM in its most extreme form.

No, I just see you droning on and on with no apparent concept of "prior plausibility."

Alright, so no fireworks at the LHC,

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 03 Jul 2016 #permalink

Seems like you’re in denial

I don't have to be "in denial" to dismiss a claim you simply made up out of whole cloth.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 04 Jul 2016 #permalink

I didn't make a claim. I aiming at the fact that you're relatively close to the energy of UHECRs and that the collision rate difference is extreme. I also pointed out the catch 22 situation where you need to have crossed the line to be able to make a claim.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 04 Jul 2016 #permalink

Elle,

You certainly do seem to be making a claim, though. You seem to be claiming that the LHC collisions are potentially dangerous, and that they will cause "combustion" of something. You don't specify what it is that will be undergoing "combustion", though. If you aren't claiming that the LHC is potentially dangerous, then the answer to your observation about LHC collision energies being close to the energies of cosmic rays is "so what?". If you are claiming a potential danger, please specify what it is that is dangerous about high-energy collisions and what possible consequences you think might happen due to them.

Elle,

Ah the power of math; you might want to try it some time. Do you know what an electron volt is? It is a unit of energy equal to the energy obtained by allowing a single electron to move through an electric potential of 1 volt. (Hence the name). It is equivalent to 1.6022E-19 joules. You may be unfamiliar with the joule, but stay with me for a minute. By your own numbers, each collision has an energy of 14E12 electron volts, and there are 6e8 collisions per second. Now, an energy divided by the time in which it is released is the power. We have enough information now to calculate the power output of the LHC. We have:

14e12 eV/collision * 6e8 collision/sec * 1.602e-19 J/eV =
1350 J/sec.

Now, another name for a Joule per second, and one with which I am sure you are familiar is a Watt. Thus the power output of the LHC collisions is about the same as 20-25 ordinary light bulbs! (assuming a 60W bulb). I don't think I am particularly concerned by such power outputs when there are lasers that have power outputs many orders of magnitude greater than this without causing any problems.

Your sentence regarding the temperature of the LHC collisions may indicate where you are confused. A high temperature does NOT indicate a particularly high energy. A high temperature indicates that each individual molecule, ion, atom (whatever the component of the system is) has a high energy. If the system does not contain many components, the overall energy is not very high, though. In macroscopic terms, there is little heat transfer when there is only a small amount of matter. 600 million sounds like a very large number, but when dealing with things like atoms, molecules, or in this case protons, it is miniscule. An ordinary drop of water, for instance contains about 5 trillion times more water molecules than the 600 million protons that collide each second at the LHC. Alternatively, the LHC would have to run for more than 176,000 years before it would collide a drop of water's worth of protons.

In short: there's really nothing worth worrying about at the LHC.

Sean,

Yes, indeed I am claiming that the LHC is potentially dangerous, but I am not claiming that it will cause a combustion scenario.

The deduction I'm making is that you can release energy in nature, by smacking to things together, increase the frequency of the collisions and you can start a fire, rubbing would will take longer than using a match, which is highly flammable. That's on the chemical level, taking it one step further you can split atoms and release lots of energy, but for a chain reaction the atoms need to be prepared like for the match to combust.

In each case we are breaking apart the composition and we need a stronger input to ignite the reaction, e.g. for a nuclear bomb you need a blast, for a gun a strong trigger to ignite the gunpowder.

Now an atom bomb will only cause the Uranium to split, because it is fairly unstable, 'normal' matter wont be shaken apart, same goes for the gun powder.

If we now look at UHECR's, the won't shake a lot of matter apart because it's just one collision, for a short period, you could see it as smacking a piece of wood with a hammer, this won't lit the wood but if you start rubbing it for a longer period it could start to heat up and burn, the tension builds up until a certain tipping point.

Now if we look at the LHC we are heating a small area for a long period at a frequency that is 600.000.000 times higher than those UHECR's that are only 50 times more intense.

We all now know that there's a medium the Higgs through which collision waves might travel and even gravity waves move through space. So who know's may the LHC is shacking up mater around the collision area until a certain point where a large groups of atoms loose their composition which starts of a chain reaction.

Is this possible I don't know, I'm just pointing out that frequency and density might also play a role. How much more heat would be released if copper atoms atoms surrounding the collision spot lose their inner-structure vs heavy uranium that just splits in two?

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 05 Jul 2016 #permalink

Sean,

Regarding your last comment you're overlooking the fact of density and frequency. Take for instance the fact that you can't break a crystal wineglass with a heavy baseline, but use just the right pitch and it starts to wobble until it breaks. The devil is in the detail. It's like the heavy hammer hitting wood vs. rubbing it, it's how you apply the energy, the concentration.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 05 Jul 2016 #permalink

The deduction I’m making is that you can release energy in nature, by smacking to things together, increase the frequency of the collisions and you can start a fire, rubbing would will take longer than using a match, which is highly flammable. That’s on the chemical level, taking it one step further you can split atoms and release lots of energy, but for a chain reaction the atoms need to be prepared like for the match to combust.

This is completely wrong. Fission reactions "chain" when they release neutrons in a way that allows those neutrons to be captured by other uranium atoms. AFAIK there is nothing analogous in proton-proton collisions or other subatomic particle collisions - there is no particle released that serves as a reactant for further proton decay.

The words "chain reaction" are also used to describe fusion but they mean something completely different there: it means the products of fusion can themselves fuse, creating higher and higher-z nuclei as the process proceeds. But what allows this process is just vast amounts of available kinetic energy - unlike in fission, there is no specific product particle released that helps the process along.

The fact that both fission and fusion are used in nuclear weapons and the phrase 'chain reaction' is also used in connection to both makes for a confusing situation for laypeople. Your assumption that 'chain reaction' is therefore a possibility for other nuclear processes is an understandable mistake. But it is a mistake. The particles collided at the LHC are just not analogous to uranium atoms in a reactor or bomb.

Take for instance the fact that you can’t break a crystal wineglass with a heavy baseline, but use just the right pitch and it starts to wobble until it breaks. The devil is in the detail.

Nuclear capture cross sections for uranium do have resonances. But declaring the LHC a danger will IMO require something more solid than the assertion that a strange matter reaction nobody has ever observed might have a resonance at the energies we currently explore. That's vague unsubstantiated assertion heaped on vague unsubstantiated assertion. Is it possible? Sure. Expected? No.

Ack that last paragraph should read "Neutron capture cross sections..."

Yes, you are right about fission and fusion, but I was looking at one step deeper; where it are the protons and neutrons themselves that would be shaken apart, just like how the protons in the LHC are collided apart. Like for breaking the crystal you need the equivalent tone, and amplify it. So it isn't about splitting the nucleus but breaking apart its foundations and have a total collapse.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 05 Jul 2016 #permalink

@33: Elle, that concept is exactly what I'm talking about, it's called a resonance. There is no evidence such resonances exist for proton decay. Unless you have some? A journal article that justifies the claim via some theoretical calculation? Anything?

@34, Eric, Ok, well that's the catch 22 that I was referring to. We can't observe the 'wobling of the glass', we will be only able to observe the 'breaking of the glass' and be able to make a claim, but then it is possible to late. It's one of those typical situations where everyone keeps quit.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 05 Jul 2016 #permalink

@35: What makes you think every single resonant proton decay reaction would trigger a catastrophic, world-ending chain reaction? That seems as unlikely as thinking every neutron-capture induced fission event will lead to a nuclear explosion. In reality, the vast vast majority of the time they don't. Reaction products interact with all the other crap in the environment, losing energy and undergoing other reactions rather than the chain one. The claim that we couldn't observe such a resonance without triggering catastrophe is just plain wrong; we certainly could, the only condition it would take is for the strange matter product (or whatever other product you're hypothesizing - you haven't said, and frankly I'm skeptical you even have something specific in mind) to react with electrons, neutrons, or nuclei - or inelastically scatter off something, losing energy - before it has a chance to react with a proton.

So now you've added a third unsubstantiated assertion to the scenario that would be needed before your scenario would occur. You need there to be a reaction nobody's ever seen and which doesn't even have any solid basis in theory. You need a resonance for the cross-section of the reaction that we have no reason to believe exists - again, you've not even provided even a theoretical justification for your claim. And third, you now need this reaction to never occur under conditions where it doesn't chain, before it does.

As I said before, is this possible? Well I guess. Is it something we should worry about? IMO No, not any more than any other unsubstantiated daydream about what could come to pass. Tomorrow some common cold bug could interact with auto exhaust and mutate into a supervirus that wipes out the human race; that's possible too. Should we stop driving cars because this is possible? No. We need more than just pie in the sky possibility here Elle. What else do you have?

"You do know that rare earth minerals aren’t actually rare, right?"

You DO know that that line has NEVER worked with the anti-renewable retards, right?

You DO know that most of the colours are from actually rare rare earth elements too, right? I mean you didn't just go and regurgitate a factoid you heard without understanding whether it was relevant, right? You surely wouldn't do something as dumb as that, would you?

"@Elle HC #12: But the LHC is *NOT* “higher than [a] single cosmic ray collision!” "

Mike, elle here is chelle who was banned.

Please remove that retard from this thread, ethan.

Ta.

"Elle,

You certainly do seem to be making a claim, though."

Elle was banned as chelle and never made a claim other than to make claims and deny ever doing them.

They're a moron who has been banned and is sockpuppeting to get their insane idiocy out on the internet.

"@35: What makes you think every single resonant proton decay reaction would trigger a catastrophic, world-ending chain reaction?"

Nothing. This has never stopped chelle in the past, though.

Not even banning the stupid bitch manages that.

Fuck off, chelle.

Elle,

What exactly is being heated by the LHC collisions. You say we are heating an area. You can't heat an "area", you can only heat matter. What matter is being heated? Even if it is being heated, as my previous calculation shows, it's being heated at a rate equivalent to a couple dozen incandescent light bulbs. Why should running 20-30 light bulbs at one location be concerning to us?

Sean, Elle is chelle, and they have no idea what they're on about. All they "know" is that science, and most especially, scientists are all evil destroyers.

Hell, last time they flounced off they were babbling on about "dragons".

They're a persistent moron.

Elle,

Also, even if you could heat an "area", it would NOT be the same "area" being heated. No two proton-proton collisions in the LHC occur at the exact same place. You forget relativity. Only from a very specific subset of reference frames is the heating occurring at the same location, namely the set of reference frames commoving with the earth's surface. In any other reference frame, the collisions are occurring at widely different places. Since in most reference frames the LHC collisions occur at different places, observers in these reference frames would conclude that the LHC collisions are non-threatening. Since relativity tells us that the laws of physics are the same in all reference frames, there must be no dangerous reactions occurring in the commoving frames either.

Wow,

You're right; it's certainly futile to try to have a coherent discussion with people like that. However, there are undoubtedly others who are ignorant about the issue who read Chelle's comments and think that there might be something to them. That's really why I'm posting to debunk those comments.

OK, Sean, just making sure you weren't putting effort in to something doomed to fail.

Something else for those wondering if chelle ISN'T batshit crazy, the earth moves, so each collision is in a different place in the universe, because they're in the "same place" on a moving earth.

No need for relativity or spacetime.

Hell, continental drift occurs and produces drift more than an atom each second in where "the same point" is.

@Sean,

"What exactly is being heated by the LHC collisions. You say we are heating an area."

The matter (copper atoms) surrounding the collision area. Just like how your speakers would make the glass wobble. The collisions are the speaker, the glass is the matter. You could put a ventilator in between, to simulate how everything is moving through space, but still the sound of the speaker is load enough to make the glass wobble until it breaks. I hope this answers your questions.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

In the hard vacuum of space a beamline, no one can hear me facepalm.

Again Elle, put 30 or so incandescent light bulbs inside a copper sphere and turn them on. The heating of the copper that occurs is equal to the heating of the copper occurring at the LHC. Nobody in their right mind is concerned about lighting 30 light bulbs so I still don't see what is different at the LHC. The rate of energy input to the copper is identical. Could it just be an irrational fear based on the fact that you understand light bulbs but do not understand the processes going on at the LHC?

@Eric

You didn't read what I wrote previously:

"We all now know that there’s a medium the Higgs through which collision waves might travel and even gravity waves move through space."

So I'm talking about vibrations traveling through the vacuum, causing an increased resonance in the atoms around the collision area.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

@Sean,

I wrote previously:

Regarding your last comment you’re overlooking the fact of density and frequency. Take for instance the fact that you can’t break a crystal wineglass with a heavy baseline, but use just the right pitch and it starts to wobble until it breaks. The devil is in the detail. It’s like the heavy hammer hitting wood vs. rubbing it, it’s how you apply the energy, the concentration.

So is not about the brute force, but the right tone.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Okay Elle, so are you saying the reaction will produce Higgs particles? Or photons? What's doing the traveling between the reaction and the copper walls?

Second, why (i.e. on what physical basis) do you think these particles would arrive at a specific frequency or energy that would allow them to "break" copper nuclei? Last, what do you mean by "break" here? Do you mean copper nuclei will fall apart into protons and neutrons? Turn into strange matter? What?

BTW Sean according to your logic we would just need to put the protons under some light bulbs. The point I'm making here is that the collisions would have a unique tone/resonance that spreads out through the medium/vacuum/higgs/SpaceTime shacking up protons in atoms around the collision center. A light bulb would have this extreme high pitch.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

@Eric,

We can pulverize a kidney stone with resonance or we can smash a stone with a hammer. Now the normal p+p+ collisions in the LHC are like the hammer, destroying protons into quarks etc. the vibrations would destroy the protons in the nuclei of the atoms surrounding the collision spots in the same way, they'd lose their composition an the whole functioning of the atom is disrupted this is 'worse' than just splitting an atom, so there would even be a much larger energy release.

Of course like you point out, what's doing the traveling (through the higgs field), that's the key question, extreme short waves below planck scale and undetectable until the 'breaking' point were they disrupt the functioning of a proton, like how resonance breaks kidney stones.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

LOL so you're proposing "extreme short waves below planck scale", but you don't know what the wave is of.

Also, splitting protons doesn't release energy, it takes energy. This is because the color force gets stronger as the distance between quarks increases, not weaker the way the other forces behave. You have to add energy to the system to do the work of pulling them apart. You have mistaken an endothermic reaction for an exothermic one. This also essentially snuffs out any chance of a chain reaction, because such a chain requires that each individual reaction release more energy than the next reaction requires. Since pulling apart a proton doesn't release energy but rather takes it, there can be no chain.

@Eric,

You may laugh about some hypothetical waves, but that's also what I referred to a couple of times before; this concept something you'll only discover when it's too late. Think of how radium was used in the early days as a beauty skin product, with disastrous results, or nuclear fall out. People always laugh if you propose something that is unseen, are you saying that we won't find anything new?

Regarding the disruption of the protons; I did not suggest that they themselves would release energy, but that their destruction would make the otherwise stable copper atoms unstable and split in more/worse parts than something like the heavy and fairly unstable Uranium.

Now if millions protons and neutrons within copper atoms are breaking apart, than there's a massive amount of matter being pushed and hurled around and you'll get new local p+p+ collisions, with new vibrations, and that's what would make the chain reaction persist and spread out. See it like a dog jumping in the wheel of one rider in a compact cycling peloton, one rider trips and falls and starts to drags everyone along whereby the whole bunch is being hurled around due to one small disruption. All protons are already under tension.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

I did not suggest that they themselves would release energy, but that their destruction would make the otherwise stable copper atoms unstable

How? What is the mechanism? Why would waves from an unknown particle "below the plank scale" couple with carbon atoms? What makes you think that will occur?

and split in more/worse parts than something like the heavy and fairly unstable Uranium.

Copper is too light to provide fission energy. Splitting it is also endothermic. So no, a copper atom splitting cannot cause a cascade "something like" uranium. Even if it could, the density and geometry is all wrong. U reactors put all their fuel in a single place for a reason: you need a high density to sustain the reaction. If its too disperse, it won't go. You could make the LHC beamline walls out of pure uranium and it still wouldn't explode, because the material would be too disperse.

Now if millions protons and neutrons within copper atoms are breaking apart, than there’s a massive amount of matter being pushed and hurled around and you’ll get new local p+p+ collisions

No, you won't, because each of those millions of reactions is taking energy from the system. This is exactly like the joke about one businessman complaining about losing money on every sale, and his partner saying "we'll make it up in volume." You're thinking that if there are lots of endothermic reactions, the system will suddenly produce energy instead of requiring it? No, that's not the way it works. You cannot make it up in volume.

@Eric,

Like the cyclists all the protons moving through space have an enourmous amount of kinetic energy, Now let's consider that the way they work is what makes them move smooth through space, but the moment you disrupt the mechanism they splatter open, dispersing all their potential kinetic energy. Think of popping a balloon, it's not the rubber (mechanism) that release the most energy, but the air inside beeing released that cause the blast.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Elle
I am done. You told me your concern was about heating the copper surrounding the p-p collisions. Now you are blathering about waves and spacetime after I debunked your concerns about the copper. Obviously you're just determined to be irrationally frightened of something you fail to understand. No amount of rational debunking of your concerns will help you. Good luck

the moment you disrupt the mechanism they splatter open, dispersing all their potential kinetic energy. Think of popping a balloon, it’s not the rubber (mechanism) that release the most energy, but the air inside beeing released that cause the blast.

As I said in @54, you're getting the color force backwards. Popping a balloon releases energy, yes, but popping a proton takes energy. Pulling quarks apart is more like pulling apart two magnets; you don't get any energy out of doing it.

@Sean,

I wrote earlier on:

"Just like how your speakers would make the glass wobble."

In the case of sound sound the waves travel through the air and heat/shake the glass. In an other example light particle-waves travel also from the sun to for instance burn your skin, light travels through SpaceTime/HiggsField/Vacuum.

Now in the same way I'm talking about small waves generated by the collisions travelling towards the protons surrounding the collision spot and shaking them up.

I haven't been saying anything differently.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

@Eric,

"Popping a balloon releases energy, yes, but popping a proton takes energy."

Yes, but I think you missed the point. When a ballon pops it release two kinds of tension; fist the tension in the rubber, and second the air that was compressed. Here I alluded on the fact that the elastic rubber snaps back, being what you are talking about, fair and square.

But I was refering to the potential speed of the proton composition that has a certain velocity moving through SpaceTime, there is a certain compactness. When this package gets disrupted the proton no longer flows through the medium and splashes open, like a how a parachute that 'pops' open, making a sound, losing a lot of its potential energy.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

I don't think your parachute analogy bears any resemblance to actual physics. The sum of the momenta of products (in a center-of-gravity calculation) will always equal the sum of the momenta of the reactants, because momentum is a conserved quantity. That is why nuclear processes that release energy almost always release photons; because the laws of physics prevent energies on the order of MeV/reaction from becoming all kinetic energy. The momenta of the quark constituent 'product' of a two proton collision will equal the momenta of the two banged-together protons; no more, no less.

Eric,

Ok, and what about the color charge that creates jets, isn't that a kind of energy release?

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

I don’t think your parachute analogy bears any resemblance to actual physics.

Or actual parachutes, for that matter: "Pop"? "Potential energy"? If one were to look for an analogy that involves "making a sound," a superior example to parachutes would seem to be the crack of a whip, but that doesn't work, either (PDF).

What 'color change that creates jets?' Can you be more specific? Just from those words, I have no idea what process of physics you're talking about.

[me]
The momenta of the quark constituent ‘product’ of a two proton collision will equal the momenta of the two banged-together protons; no more, no less.

Incidentally, Elle, that momenta can be easily calculated. For equal mass protons traveling at equal speeds in opposite directions (like in the LHC), the momenta of the product particles will equal....zero.

Eric,

A struck quark, like any accelerated particle, will radiate. A suddenly accelerated electron will radiate photons; a suddenly accelerated quark will radiate many gluons and photons. So a resonated one should too.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 08 Jul 2016 #permalink
Take for instance the fact that you can’t break a crystal wineglass with a heavy baseline, but use just the right pitch and it starts to wobble until it breaks. The devil is in the detail.

Nuclear capture cross sections for uranium do have resonances. But declaring the LHC a danger will IMO require something more solid than the assertion that a strange matter reaction nobody has ever observed might have a resonance at the energies we currently explore. That’s vague unsubstantiated assertion heaped on vague unsubstantiated assertion.

Oh, dear, this nonsense has been going on for over six years.

So a resonated one should too..

Wait, wait. You started off saying the copper atom could be separated into protons and neutrons through a resonance. Now the resonance is occurring in a quark? How do you get from A to B? And what does "a resonated quark" even refer to?

Good find, Narad.

I outgrew mine four decades ago.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 08 Jul 2016 #permalink

Eric,

It seems that you thought that I was talking about shaking one proton from the other apart, while I was talking about shaking the protons themselves apart, this means the quarks within the proton, check my previous comments. I always meant the some thing.

@33: " it are the protons and neutrons themselves that would be shaken apart, just like how the protons in the LHC are collided apart. "

@53:"the vibrations would destroy the protons in the nuclei of the atoms surrounding the collision spots in the same way, they’d lose their composition an the whole functioning of the atom is disrupted this is ‘worse’ than just splitting an atom, so there would even be a much larger energy release."

BTW 'resonance' is just an other term for 'shaking apart'.

@53: "until the ‘breaking’ point were they disrupt the functioning of a proton, like how resonance breaks kidney stones."

So if you are shaking a proton apart it are actually the quarks that you are shaking from each other apart.

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 08 Jul 2016 #permalink

Note, regarding resonance and the continue flow of collisions at the LHC vs Cosmic Rays you might want to check the term 'Driven Oscillations':

"If an external time dependent force is present, the harmonic oscillator is described as a driven oscillator."

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 08 Jul 2016 #permalink

BTW ‘resonance’ is just an other term for ‘shaking apart’.

This, of course, is why banjos are unpossible.

Narad,

It's cool that you bring up the banjo and the whip, both strings that produce sounds and even a sonic boom, becaus of how they compress air.

You might want to check this video where strings break after continuous heating and become some sort of whip:
http://youtu.be/8QSXj3MkbC4

A short heatflash wouldn't be very harmful, it is the 'driven oscillation' that cause the strings to break. See the difference between the continuous collisions at the LHC vs. the much lighter density of CR's in nature. Isn't the Higgs similar to a sonic boom?

By Elle H.C. (not verified) on 09 Jul 2016 #permalink