how to create a ion burst or blast? An can it even be done?

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Offline tilen99

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Would it be posible to take a design for a ion propulsion sistem and turn it into a ion canon, that would create a ion blast of some sort. (Or an ion grenade)


Offline alancalverd

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Take an old television cathode-ray tube, remove the glass, and substitute an ion source (say a mercury arc) for the cathode. Lo and behold, an ion propulsion system. Indeed if you retain the deflection coils, you have a steerable ion rocket!
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Offline evan_au

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An ion cannon would not work well in Earth's atmosphere, because the air would rapidly stop any high-speed particles.

In Earth orbit, the beam from an ion rocket could travel for thousands of miles.
- You need to ensure that the beam is precisely colimated (parallel). This is not easy, as the ions would be deflected by different amounts, depending on how close they are to the negative electrode.
- You need to ensure that the ion beam was precisely neutralized, otherwise electrostatic repulsion would spread the ions over a huge volume of space, and their path would be twisted around Earth's magnetic field.

The advantage of an ion rocket is that it uses little fuel. But this means there is little mass in the ion "projectile". Today's ion rockets are fairly low-power versions, but researchers are working on larger versions that could be nuclear-powered.

Overall, I expect that it would be more destructive to fire a rifle or a laser in space. At least the laser can be used for both targeting and shooting, and wouldn't send you tumbling backward with recoil like a projectile gun.