Author Topic: Possible concept of Palladium Reactor (from R.Downey movie)  (Read 5329 times)

Offline Archer

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Interesting article about how R. Downy's (Iron Man) fictional palladium arc reactor might worked:
http://www.quora.com/Technology/What-is-the-theory-concept-behind-the-Miniature-Arc-Reactor-built-by-Tony-Stark?srid=i0JL&share=1

Summary:
Quote
electrons project outward from the inner core, and gamma rays project inward from the outer ring. Because this electron/photon counterflow creates a deficit of electrons (relative to protons) in the core, a massive electrostatic potential is developed and the palladium core attracts lower-energy electrons from the suit's wiring. The ejection of electrons from the core towards the rim of the device produces an electrical cell capable of generating enormous voltage and current.

Here's the full proposed reactor start-up process:
•Using external power, Pd-103 is ionized by an electric arc, and accelerated to high velocity in the outer ring. There may also be some externally-powered gamma ray production to jump-start the inner core.
•Pd-107 in the inner core starts to emit high-energy electrons as it decays to Ag-107. The electrons escape the core and are directed by magnetic fields into the outer ring. Lack of electrons creates a net positive charge in the core, which slows further emission (preventing run-away decay) until the electrons can be externally replenished.
•In the outer ring, the high-energy free electrons collide with high-energy Pd-103+ ions. This causes instantaneous electron capture and gamma ray emission. The gamma rays are deflected inward towards the core, thus catalyzing further electron emission and producing a self-sustaining reaction. Note that the reaction is self-sustaining, but very slow while the reactor is idle.
•The electron flow from the inner core to the outer core creates an electric potential difference. When a circuit is created through the suit's electrical loads, the outer ring has an excess of electrons and the inner core has a shortage of electrons. This creates current.
•The electrical current through an external load relieves the electrostatic charge accumulations that initially slowed the reactions. So the less power the suit draws, the slower the reactor produces radioactive decay, and the more power the suit draws, the faster the reactions are catalyzed. That way, the power output automatically throttles according to demand.
•The palladium slowly converts to Rh-103 and Ag-107, and the reactor runs out of power when the palladium is fully consumed.

Question to the nuclear physicist here: does that make any sense? (except the magical gamma ray mirror)

Question number two: does the proposed way of generating voltage makes sense?
Because if it does, it sounds like a holy grail of energy generation - conversion of energy directly to electricity, without inconvenient and inherently inefficient heat engine.
Perfect generator for space applications.
Seems to good to be true.
« Last Edit: 01/01/2014 03:01 PM by Archer »
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering. (c) R. A. Heinlein

Offline Stormbringer

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I think the answer to a gamma ray mirror might lay in meta-materials with graduated refractive indexes beyond that of normal materials. with meta-materials groups common atoms are used to simulate the behavior of other atoms with many properties capable of being emulated. i think it would possible for example to create meta material equivalents of super heavy unstable atoms that are completely stable even if they are in or on a substrate. it is possible to use these as a lens for gamma rays (well potentially at least.)  with the right fine scale structure you could make a cloak for gamma rays the same way they can now make one make one for infrared, UV, visible spectrum and microwaves.  they even made a temporal cloak.


optionally "real" meta-materials made of small quantities of atoms of particles other than protons and neutrons with a higher first energy of ionization than standard matter due to the nuclear particles being smaller than regular protons but more massive than regular nuclear particles and due to the "electron" orbitals being much tighter than regular matter orbitals. There are lots of ifs and maybes are in there like:

can any set exotic particles actually combine to form complete regular matter atomic analogs.
can those exotic atoms be usefully stable
will this exotic matter have the ability to form molecular bonds of various sorts
Can we make them by some process better than random collisions and luck
can we scale up the production so that macroscopic amounts suitable to industrial use is possible

but if we could do all of that depending on the substitute particles used you could have incredible "magical" materials that just violate about all of the material science rules as we currently know them.

in defense of this near fantasy level of speculation i can only say that there have been a few research results  that seem to say it is not completely impossible. things like muonium and similar discoveries. additionally gamma ray lenses have actually gotten much smaller recently according to research in articles i only vaguely remember now.
« Last Edit: 01/01/2014 03:54 PM by Stormbringer »
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Tags: science fiction