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Thread: Questions on using Anti-matter
December 16th, 2006, 07:22 PM #1
Questions on using Anti-matter
I have a short story I'm currently outlining that involoves mutant characters that can somehow generate high enough levels of it to be truly dangerous. Now, after reading several sources on antimatter, I found that it is impossible to create enouh of it to be so destructive, and that it is an extremely difficult thing to create and even contain.
So my qestion is, how do I work all these things out enough to be believable? Wuld it be a new form of antimatter, since it came from a highly evolved human? How would the mutants themselves be able to control it? ~Angela
December 16th, 2006, 08:19 PM #2
I see no reason why it'd be impossible to create enough to be destructive. Sure, under normal conditions it'll react (quite violently) with regular matter and turn into energy but if you made a perfect vacuum (Or even a near-perfect vacuum and then threw some antimatter in the chamber to "clear out" the rest of the atoms) I see no reason why you couldn't "create" your antimatter in the container and then when you have enough release it and create a fairly big boom.
Now, as to it being extremely difficult to create and contain... Yes, that's true. I actually don't know what all goes into creating antimatter, but we have created a bit, so it is possible. I've outlined how to contain it above, so it's not all that much of a stretch to assume that the means of creating and containig it will become easier as the level of technology rises.
As a reader, I'd personally have no problem accepting that they could create and contain it, if you as the writer told me so.
I don't know what you mean by "control" it. Just keep it out of contact from regular matter and you're fine. You could make up a "force field" or perhaps use magnets to suspend the matter. Just remember, if you wave your hands hard enough, and there's a good reason for it, people will believe pretty much anything you tell them
December 16th, 2006, 10:34 PM #3
Well Dan Brown managed to convince enough people that it was possible in Angels & Demons - so I wouldn't worry too much about it.
I'm not sure what you mean by a "new form" of anti-matter. Essentially you can think of it as regular matter with opposite charge. To that end, if you had a way of producing it, you could contain it electromagnetically. To produce it, you would need either a large amout of an isotope that gives off anti-matter by natural decay, or some kind of particle accelerator that could induce reactions that would have anti-matter as by products. The technical trick, I think, would be gathering it together. In fiction you can get around that issue by avoidance or slipping in some kind of techincal jargon, ie. use your trusty matter anti-matter separation matrix.
December 17th, 2006, 10:34 AM #4
Check out the stringtheory and set the story in a different dimension.
Everything is possible with that.
December 17th, 2006, 03:25 PM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Auckland, New Zealand
Given it's a writing thread, I thought it was about how to end sentences with a bang.
December 17th, 2006, 05:23 PM #6
What I meant by 'new form' of antimatter; That it would be generated by a living being it may have some different properties than that of the kind found in space.
On controlling it; Since these characters will be weilding this power with their hands or other limbs, what counter-active affect will they need to be able to contain it until release? Well, from the above posts, I can gather that they may have the ability to control it by some supernatural magnetism of the mind. Or a magnetic field generated by their own body and then bending it to contain the anitmatter.
I also have another issue to solve. Since one of the two characters with this power will be captured, how would his volitility be subdued? Drugs? Or some other means?
BTW, Thanx to everyone who replied. I have read Angels & Demons, and it was a decent book, because I couldn't put it down.
December 17th, 2006, 06:47 PM #7
If you want to be realistic, I suggest you read the scientific literature on the subject. A good place to start is http://arxiv.org/ and google scholar. Or get a good high energy physics textbook from your library.
Maybe it's just me, (and I hope I don't sound harsh) but the concept of Dan Brown's book has me writhing in my skin. Also things like people in a spaceship going into a black hole to teleport around the univerise. Now if you want a teleportation device, fine, then make up your own hole but do not twist something that already has a pre-defined meaning.
So I suggest that you either follow what you read about in the papers and be true to the science (which is, I admit, hard) or make up something else. Now you cannot make up a new sort of anti-matter because there is only matter and anti-matter in the standard model and nothing else, but you could perhaps create a new sort of radiation instead?
December 18th, 2006, 09:53 AM #8
The problem with anti-matter is that it cannot come in contact with ANYTHING, not even one molecule of normal matter without problems. I'm pretty sure that the only way to "contain" it with our science now it to use massive magnetic fields in a vacuum to keep the anti-matter in place.
If your characters can simply make it, they'll need to do so in a vacuum, otherwise it would destruct before they could do anything with it.
BUt as others have said, if you want it realistic you are going to need to research scholarly articles.
December 18th, 2006, 11:41 AM #9
Well, if I can't reasonably use antimatter as the dangerous matter the characters, then what would be other dangerous forms of matter that I could use as reference to create the same amount of destruction of a nuclear weapon if not more?
The point is, what level of dangerousness would this powerful matter created by said mutants have to have to worry humanity?
As they are the new evolving branch of the human species, humanity as a whole still fear and hate them. I know this follows the xmen theme, but I'm putting my own twist on things here, you'll see when I get it posted.
December 18th, 2006, 12:29 PM #10
Perhaps, if you are getting xmen-ish, you don't need to be quite so stringent on the science.
Perhaps these folks could have control over things at the molecular level, so they could conceivably make anything into a fission bomb? Or they could generate plasma by exciting any material?
December 18th, 2006, 03:06 PM #11
So then if that could work, reasonably speaking, what would this ability be called? I have no name as of yet, and suggestions are apreciated.
So, if said characters could control things at the molecular level enough to create fission bombs and plasma, how would I explain how it works? Remember, one of the two who have this power will be captured and studied by humans, so there will need to be a somewhat reasonable way to describe how it occurs.
Also as far as controling somone potentially this dangerous, what methods would they have to take to subdue him?
December 19th, 2006, 03:38 AM #12
You could make it so that the mutants have a huge amount of energy stored in them. They can release that energy how they like, one small bit at the time or it all in one big explosion.
That way ordinary humans would be tempted to both kill them and use them. For energy or as weapons.
December 19th, 2006, 09:16 AM #13
December 19th, 2006, 01:19 PM #14
I would say that anti-matter per se would be unlikely - they'd also need to be able to manipulate magnetic fields like Magneto, and even then they're probably going to blow themselves up before perfecting their control.
What about a new kind of super-powerful chemical? Something like - they secrete a catalyst that causes water and oxygen to combust in a chain reaction, thus turning all the oceans of the world into a huge explosion.
Orson Scott Card used a similar device in "Ender's Game," the M.D. that caused all dense matter to explode. A new secreted chemical would be a little more plausible but still could be a world-ending threat.
Just another suggestion. Good luck!
December 19th, 2006, 08:40 PM #15So, if said characters could control things at the molecular level enough to create fission bombs and plasma, how would I explain how it works?
Last edited by Physics Knight; December 20th, 2006 at 11:42 AM.