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Author Topic: Have i just split an atom?  (Read 2586 times)

paul.fr

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Have i just split an atom?
« on: 23/05/2007 09:43:33 »
Suppose i had a saw or laser, and i cut through an iron rod. Have i just split an atom? would i have also altered the structure of both ends of the rod?


 

another_someone

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Have i just split an atom?
« Reply #1 on: 23/05/2007 10:02:00 »
You would not have been able to cut through an atom - atoms would fall either one side or the other of the cut.

What is usually meant by splitting the atom is to split the nucleus of the atom (you would have arguably split the atom insofar as you may have split off some electrons from some of the atoms, but that is usually regarded as ionising an atom, not splitting it in its usual sense).  Apart from the fact that the nucleus of an atom is so time that you are unlikely to hit many as you cut through the metal, but the force you are using is insufficient to be able to cleave apart the enormous forces holding the nucleus together.

You could, and probably would, have altered the crystal structure at the point of the cut.
 

Offline Batroost

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Have i just split an atom?
« Reply #2 on: 25/05/2007 22:54:56 »
Here's a suggestion...

Start with a Carbon rod rather than an Iron one.

About one atom in a trillion of your Carbon will probably be Carbon-14. This is radioactive and changes by beta decay to Nitorgen-14 witha half-life of about 5730 years. So, in an hour, a 12g carbon rod, containing 6.023e23/1e12 ~6e11 carbon-14 atoms sees about 1 in 100 million of these decay. Or about 6000 per hour.

Of course you could argue that these aren't really splitting.

So start with a rod of Uranium or Plutonium...

Ah no. Better not. 
 

Offline @@

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Have i just split an atom?
« Reply #3 on: 27/05/2007 21:54:07 »
 :D
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Have i just split an atom?
« Reply #3 on: 27/05/2007 21:54:07 »

 

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