[extropy-chat] Cold Elvis Conspiracy

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Wed Dec 27 01:38:28 UTC 2006

On 12/27/06, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> At 02:44 PM 12/26/2006 -0500, Keith wrote:
> Yeah, the intermittency is strange...

Going off in a totally different direction but one which Keith might have
some insight into.  Did you [Keith] (or Eric) ever do the calculations to
determine whether mechanosynthesis could be used to fuse nuclei so as to
produce a net gain of energy?

Presumably there is some tradeoff with respect to how ionized the nuclei are
(and so how much one can reduce the repulsion due to the electrons), the
energy required to overcome the repulsion of the protons, the yield of
fusion reaction, etc.  I ask the question because in my relatively detailed
knowledge of the literature (at least from the nanotech side, not from the
fusion side of things) I have never seen any discussion of the possible
feasibility (or yield) of mechanosynthetic fusion.

There has to be some tradeoff between moving atoms around at random (where
most of the energy is simply translated into random motion) and moving atoms
around in a highly precise way.  (View it as diffusion controlled reactions
vs. enzymatic reactions).  The conventional wisdom is that the only way to
get fusion to happen productively is to accelerate large numbers of nuclei
to very high velocities (a fission triggered hydrogen bomb or a tokamak
operating at millions of deg.) or a star where the gravity is forcing the
nuclei together..  But one has to ask "Are those the only ways?"

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