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Author Topic: If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?  (Read 8191 times)

Offline The Scientist

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Offline lightarrow

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #1 on: 23/12/2010 12:48:33 »
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Who said they can't?
 

Offline The Scientist

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #2 on: 23/12/2010 13:00:53 »
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Who said they can't?

Elements can't be chemically broken down.
 

Offline CliffordK

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #3 on: 23/12/2010 13:34:08 »
Elements can be created, and destroyed in nuclear reactions. 

They naturally change to other elements through nuclear decay, and split apart through fission.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #4 on: 23/12/2010 14:48:46 »
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Who said they can't?

Elements can't be chemically broken down.

Elements can't be chemically created.
 

Offline Geezer

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #5 on: 23/12/2010 18:20:30 »
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Who said they can't?

Elements can't be chemically broken down.

Elements can't be chemically created.

So, basically, you're saying my alchemy experiments are a waste of time then?
« Last Edit: 24/12/2010 04:19:03 by Geezer »
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #6 on: 24/12/2010 00:26:53 »
If you can create an element from scratch, I'll give you 10 Nobel Prizes :)
 

Offline Bill.D.Katt.

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #7 on: 24/12/2010 01:50:46 »
Was the original question a reference to the idea that a flat infinitely old universe that is constantly expanding can "generate" matter in order to maintain density?
 

Offline CliffordK

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #8 on: 24/12/2010 02:38:48 »
If you can create an element from scratch, I'll give you 10 Nobel Prizes :)
I certainly can't whip one up in my basement.

Well...  actually I can as radioactive elements are ubiquitous in our environment.

So, for example, Carbon-14 is found in our environment at about 1 part per trillion.  And, it spontaneously decays into Nitrogen-14.

Tritium is rare, but exists naturally in the environment.  It will spontaneously decay into Helium-3.  And, for example, you can purchase Tritium Radioactive Exit Signs that depend on this principle.

Some of the Lanthanides, and most of the Actinides as well as heavier elements were first isolated as synthetic elements, often in very low quantities due to their inherit instability. 

Plutonium-239 (Pu-239) is used in nuclear weapons, and is a synthetic element produced as a byproduct of nuclear reactions.

I would note that some of the nuclear reactor products include Neodymium, a "rare earth element" that is generally stable, and very useful in magnets.

Perhaps, if you would send me the money to build a super-collider in my basement, I could make new elements on demand.

Personally, I'd be most interested in the generation of a few grams of synthetic anti-hydrogen  :D
« Last Edit: 24/12/2010 03:21:49 by CliffordK »
 

Offline Geezer

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #9 on: 24/12/2010 04:34:12 »
If you can create an element from scratch, I'll give you 10 Nobel Prizes :)
I certainly can't whip one up in my basement.

Well...  actually I can as radioactive elements are ubiquitous in our environment.

So, for example, Carbon-14 is found in our environment at about 1 part per trillion.  And, it spontaneously decays into Nitrogen-14.

Tritium is rare, but exists naturally in the environment.  It will spontaneously decay into Helium-3.  And, for example, you can purchase Tritium Radioactive Exit Signs that depend on this principle.

Some of the Lanthanides, and most of the Actinides as well as heavier elements were first isolated as synthetic elements, often in very low quantities due to their inherit instability. 

Plutonium-239 (Pu-239) is used in nuclear weapons, and is a synthetic element produced as a byproduct of nuclear reactions.

I would note that some of the nuclear reactor products include Neodymium, a "rare earth element" that is generally stable, and very useful in magnets.

Perhaps, if you would send me the money to build a super-collider in my basement, I could make new elements on demand.

Personally, I'd be most interested in the generation of a few grams of synthetic anti-hydrogen  :D

So, basically, you're saying my alchemy experiments are not a waste of time then?
 

Offline CliffordK

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #10 on: 24/12/2010 05:46:06 »
So, basically, you're saying my alchemy experiments are not a waste of time then?

Absolutely not.
All you need is a billion dollar nuclear reactor.
And some platinum valued at $1700 an ounce.
And you should be able to make all the gold you want valued at $1300 per ounce.   ;D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesis_of_precious_metals#Gold

However....
I like this quote from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_transmutation

Quote
Ironically, it transpired that, under true nuclear transmutation, it is far easier to turn gold into lead than the reverse reaction, which was the one the alchemists had ardently pursued. Nuclear experiments have successfully transmuted lead into gold, but the expense far exceeds any gain.

It looks like about 10% of Mercury is Mercury-198 (198Hg), and it can be converted to a stable Gold isotope (197Au), although the process apparently isn't commercially viable at this point. 

I would think that it would be relatively easy to separate synthetic gold from liquid mercury, which would aid in the production process.
 

Offline Geezer

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #11 on: 24/12/2010 06:19:24 »
Wait till Bored Chemist hears about this. I don't think he's going to be too pleased at all, at all.
 

Offline lightarrow

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #12 on: 24/12/2010 11:33:35 »
Elements can't be chemically created.
So, basically, you're saying my alchemy experiments are a waste of time then?
Yes. Elements cannot be created chemically.
 

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If elements can be created, why can't they be broken down?
« Reply #12 on: 24/12/2010 11:33:35 »

 

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