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seven trillion degrees


jameswade
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I read a story today, An atom smasher at Brookhaven National Laboratory in new york created a temperature greater than 7 trillion degrees , How in the world can something that hot be contained in a controlled environment, thats over 13 million times hotter that a nuclear explosion and over 140,000 times hotter than the core of our own sun, how is it possible?

 

 

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Hi James,

 

I read a story today, An atom smasher at Brookhaven National Laboratory in new york created a temperature greater than 7 trillion degrees , How in the world can something that hot be contained in a controlled environment, thats over 13 million times hotter that a nuclear explosion and over 140,000 times hotter than the core of our own sun, how is it possible?

Two things:1) They do not (can not) directly measure the temperature of these plasmas. Rather, they infer the temperature from the light spectra emitted from the collisions that produce the plasmas.

 

2) The issue is not merely the temperature, but also one must consider the time that this temperature is in existence. This is because it is not absolute heat that melts things, but persistent heat that propagates large amounts of power (energy per unit time) in the forms of convection, conduction, and radiation. So if the inferred temperature only lasts for nanoseconds or less, its heat-induced damaged is limited. The reaction chambers are typically run at vaccuum conditions, which reduces the chance of conduction and convection currents to the housing of the chamber. But even with this, radiation does do a number on it!

 

RMT

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
I read a story today, An atom smasher at Brookhaven National Laboratory in new york created a temperature greater than 7 trillion degrees

Considering that temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of individual particles in some system of particles under observation and that the accelerator boosted the particle velocities to over .9999999 c it shouldn't be much of a surprise that the temperature was huge. But there wasn't much heat generated because there were very few particles (high temp but low total energy). The accelerator's magnets in the area of the collission put out more heat than the collission.
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  • 2 weeks later...

James,

 

I wouldn't worry about the temperature of the collissions. There's a huge difference between temperature and heat.

 

What is the temperature of a single electron accelerated to virtually the speed of light? It tends to infiinity and would be infinite at the speed of light. How much heat energy is present? Virtually none. Huge velocity and almost no mass...not much in the way of momentum which is directly related to temperature. If an electron travelling at almost the speed of light struck you (and they do it all the time) you would not be incinerated or injured in any immediately obvious way (though some chromosomes could be damaged).

 

When you read silly articles that compare the heat of a few subatomic particles colliding with the heat of "nuclear explosions" and "the core of a star" its time to put on your thickest pair of BS goggles. If you managed to enter the core of a star only to discover that its average temperature was only 250 degrees you'd still be just as dead as if it had an average temperature of 15 million degrees. It's the number of particles present and not their individual temperatures that counts.

 

 

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