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Ultra-Dense Deuterium Produced

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the big-if dept.

Power 355

Omomyid was among several readers writing in about the production of microscopic amounts of ultra-dense deuterium by scientists at the University of Gothenberg, in Sweden. A cubic centimeter of the stuff would weigh 287 lbs. (130 kg). UDD is 100,000 times more dense than water, and a million times more dense than deuterium ice, which is a common fuel in laser-ignited fusion projects. The researchers say that, if (big if) the material can be produced in large quantities, it would vastly improve the chances of starting a fusion reaction, as the atoms are much closer together. Such a D-D fusion reaction would be cleaner than one involving highly radioactive tritium. Many outlets have picked up the same press release that Science Daily printed pretty much verbatim (as is their wont); there doesn't seem to be much else about this on the Web. Here's the home page of one of the researchers. The press release gives no hint as to how the UDD was produced. Reader wisebabo asks: "I can easily imagine a material being compressed by some heavy duty diamond anvil to reach this density, the question is: what happens when you let the pressure off? Will it expand (explosively one would presume) back to its original volume?"

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355 comments

That's "dilithium" (4, Funny)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927345)

Woo-hoo, warp drive, here we come!

Oh, only "cold fusion here we come"? Fine, lets just solve our enrgy crisis then. *kicks rock, wishes for holodeck*

Re:That's "dilithium" (2, Funny)

snsh (968808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927397)

Is this Red Matter? Or is the thing you eject into the black hole at the end of the movie to cancel out the Red Matter?

Re:That's "dilithium" (1)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927651)

Can't be Red Matter. I already got a bunch of that all over my floor when I stepped on the pen I use to grade papers with. I'm taking fire safety much more seriously these days though.

Dilithium? (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927827)

Bah! You want Deutronium!

Re:That's "dilithium" (4, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927883)

Hey, one thing at a time :-)

If we want off earth for any length of time, we need a power plant that will sustain a manned spacecraft for a long journey. Fusion beats the hell out of fission in that department.

So consider this one small step on the way to a future in which star trek looks antiquated. If it works, that is (I have my reservations upon looking at the claims in TFA).

Re:That's "dilithium" (0, Offtopic)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928185)

If we want off earth for any length of time, we need a power plant that will sustain a manned spacecraft for a long journey. Fusion beats the hell out of fission in that department.

Actually, we need waaaaaay more than that. The human body is a lot more sophisticated than scientists would have us believe, and we need an ecosystem big enough to sustain it.

Vitamins don't grow on trees. Nor do micronutrients [wikipedia.org] .

Re:That's "dilithium" (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928351)

Power is still relevant to that discussion though. Ecosystems require energy input. Anything that might substitute for an ecosystem in this context would require similar energy to work.

If the technology existed to support a human being away from earth for anywhere approaching one human life span, the power requirements would be huge. Fusion, fission, or something on the same order of magnitude is practically a necessity, at least if there's no star in close proximity.

Re:That's "dilithium" (1)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928411)

If someone has you believe that the human body is anything less than incredibly sophisticated, they're not a scientist. You're probably thinking of science fiction authors.

Solve Energy Crisis? (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928007)

If someone developed cold fusion or any other cheap/virtually free method for generating energy, the same people (big energy companies) would still sell the rest of us energy at whatever price the market would bear, with higher profits and less overhead for themselves.

Follow the green energy dollars. They are heading the same direction as the rest of the old energy dollars.

Re:Solve Energy Crisis? (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928159)

And the problem is.....

Why should we care if our "green energy" comes from the same power company?

Re:Solve Energy Crisis? (2, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928165)

While that would be a bad thing as far as fairness goes, it would still be an improvement over what we have today.

Plus, in the long haul, all it takes is for the tech to miniaturize to the point where you can install it at home and go off the grid. Failing that, if the technology is cheap enough, smaller utilities might be able afford the start up costs and enter the market, which will introduce competition.

That being said, "cold" fusion is very likely a pipe dream. Fusion power generators will almost certainly be inertially or magnetically confined - "hot" fusion in other words. However, since the tech in TFA is applicable to inertial confinement fusion, the cold fusion debate is not applicable here.

Re:Solve Energy Crisis? (1)

cheftw (996831) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928383)

Was the competition chapter missing from your economics book?

Theoretically, (and hopefully) this would push the price down as more firms entered the market. I can see this happening in a state-sponsored way as soon as viable fusion appears, especially in this socialist EU of ours.

Energy is not a Technical problem, one of Will (5, Insightful)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928173)

Fine, lets just solve our enrgy crisis then. *kicks rock, wishes for holodeck*

If we really wanted to, we could solve it quite easily. There's many centuries of Uranium and Thorium to burn in fission reactors, and nuclear waste is solved technically. (Again, the problem is political.) We haven't taken more than the first step to tapping the potential of wave energy, there's a lot more wind to harness. Solar Thermal could benefit from economies of scale and improved distribution, and there's tremendous potential untapped in the world's deserts.

There's even a market for Orbital Solar Power Satellites -- namely for remote military outposts that would otherwise need to truck in fuel for generators. (An order of magnitude greater cost is acceptable in that case, but this would start the cycle of industrial innovation and reduction of costs from economies of scale, and would lead to widespread Solar Power for civilian use.)

We could stop using fossil fuels right now, from a technical standpoint. It's just that we don't want to, for a variety of economic, political, and superstitious reasons.

Hmm (4, Funny)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927349)

Sounds like the university of gothenberg should just go walk nibbler [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Hmm (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927537)

well that went up like a heavy deuterium balloon

Re:Hmm (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928003)

Or at least, invent Diamondium [wikia.com] .

Details missing ... for now (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927399)

The press release gives no hint as to how the UDD was produced.

Of course not -- they'll want to patent that method before they release the details. And why not? If it turns out to be exactly what we needed all along to make fusion commercially viable, they'll be set for life.

Re:Details missing ... for now (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927797)

And why not? If it turns out to be exactly what we needed all along to make fusion commercially viable, they'll be set for life.

s/life/end of time for them and all their descendants

No problem. (4, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927403)

Twas asked:

"I can easily imagine a material being compressed by some heavy duty diamond anvil to reach this density, the question is: what happens when you let the pressure off? Will it expand (explosively one would presume) back to its original volume?"

Simple answer, known by all: Duct Tape.

RS

Re:No problem. (2)

iamkion132 (1309521) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927657)

I can see someone trying this and more then likely succeeding.

Re:No problem. (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927693)

of course. duct tape fixes everything!

Duct tape is only half of the equation. (2, Insightful)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927795)

If it doesn't move and it should: WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn't: duct tape.

Re:Duct tape is only half of the equation. (2, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927881)

Good point. I forgot about the WD40. Slicker than greased owl shit.

but I think this deuterium stuff is likely to expand, quickly, so I think a plastic box wrapped in duct tape is the right answer.

Re:Duct tape is only half of the equation. (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928033)

What about duct tape box wrapped in duct tape?

Dude... That's heavy!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27927467)

Dude... That's heavy!!!

Re:Dude... That's heavy!!! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928045)

Coming in 2010: "Dude, where's my ultra-dense deuterium?", staring Ashton Kutcher.

What the heck passes for editing these days??? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27927471)

"Highly Radioactive Tritium" - I'm assuming they meant something concerning the very energetic neutrons produced in D-T fusion. Tritium by itself can't be considered highly radioactive by any stretch of the imagination. They put the stuff in my watch with thin glass for a shield, for Pete's sake!

Re:What the heck passes for editing these days??? (4, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928073)

Thin glass is all you need. Tritium is a beta emitter - skin won't necessarily stop it, but just about anything else will. If it leaks out, it'll be as a diffuse gas that will react with oxygen to produce slightly radioactive water - with the quantities in your watch, that's no big deal. It is still somewhat energetic though (probably where they're getting "highly radioactive").

I can see why the method from TFA, if it works, might not be wise to use on tritium. An ultradense block of material that, upon returning to regular atmospheric pressure, expands into a radioactive gas... not a great idea. Tritium, like human beings, is only mostly harmless :-)

Re:What the heck passes for editing these days??? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928209)

Actually, skin will likely stop the betas from tritium just fine. It's not just that it's a beta emitter, it's that it emits betas at 17 keV.

Re:What the heck passes for editing these days??? (1)

The Mysterious Dr. X (1502541) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928151)

No? It's the least stable isotope of hydrogen, and in common usage, least stable = most radioactive. If you only consider beta emissions, then no, it's not terribly strong or dangerous; in the case of glow-in-the-dark watches, it's certainly much safer than radium. Still, relative to deuterium, it's much more radioactive.

Re:What the heck passes for editing these days??? (4, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928275)

Still, relative to deuterium, it's much more radioactive.

Deuterium doesn't decay, at least not on any observable time scale. So "relative to deuterium", anything that does decay is much more radioactive. This includes such notable elements as Bismuth, used in Pepto-Bismol, and Tungsten, used in lightbulb filaments. Nevermind such notables as Americium in smoke detectors.

It's also good for practical jokes (4, Funny)

master_p (608214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927487)

Imaging putting a little bit of that in ones shoe...a great laugh!

Re:It's also good for practical jokes (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27927895)

Actually, it would probably be funnier to put it someone elses shoes.

Re:It's also good for practical jokes (2, Interesting)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928061)

I'd rather drop a piece from the top of the Eiffel tower and see how big of a hole it makes!

Re:It's also good for practical jokes (1)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928419)

Hopefully not a black one.

Re:It's also good for practical jokes (4, Funny)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928321)

But think how much heavier the Earth will be when they start making lots of this stuff. Won't that affect our solar orbit? Or the tide?

It's like how sponges can hold 25 times their weight in water. Imagine how high the water levels would be if they became extinct!

I don't know how people can sleep...

LOTS of missing details from TFA: (5, Informative)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927493)

FIRST - there is no claim for an observable amount of matter in the D(-1) state. It isn't "microscopic amounts" - for "microscopic" means "visible in a microscope". Do the math, fellow NBF visionaries: 2.3 picometers ... if it were a lattice compound ... would be about 440^3 units per cubic nanometer, or 440,000^3 (about 85E15 or 85 quadrillion atoms in a cubic micrometer box. Nothing doing. They're measuring the energy (~600eV) spectroscopically, from the FRAGMENTS of the supposed union. This is not a union-of-deuterons lasting nanoseconds, or microseconds, or milliseconds, or seconds. No, these are the fragments that lasted just long enough for the D(-1) state to hold together in a laser beam for ATTOSECONDS. (That's what those little "as" annotations are on their viewgraph).

SECOND, while it is nice to foster the conjecture that such matter IF microscopically attainable, IF stable enought to survives the time-of-flight from source to fusion reactor, IF the energy-cost-of-production is far less than the increased odds (and useful energy return) of the attendant fusion exists ... THEN it is a great and wonderful thing.

THIRD, single D(-1) pseudonucleons may well exist for nanoseconds per KURT9's thesis, but again ... nanoseconds is very much too short for deeply sub-relativistic ballistic particles to traverse a source (the laser-and-"compression" chamber) to the fusion reaction chamber. Even if they only exist as single diatomic particles, lifetimes have to be raised at least into the microseconds. For practical energy production in the reactor proper (let's say, 250 MW thermal), 4.88E20 diatomic Rydberg nucleons would have to be created (assuming 3.23MeV per fusion of D(-1) to get to 4He) ... and remembering that 4He is the least likely product produced.

FOURTH (per last part of Third), the 2D + 2D = 4He reaction is well known to be very improbable in a single step, since there are LOWER ENERGY intermediate products that bleed off the excited spin-state fusion reaction (one of the key 'first principles' of fusion physics). Per the excellent if brief article in WikiPedia,

50% ... D + D = T + p
50% ... D + D = 3He + n

Researching further, D + D = 4He occurs about one in a dozen million fusion reactions nominally.

FIFTH, summing goatse.cx guy's "facts" together and this looks like yet another fruitless (for fusion) avenues of research. There is only hope, and not a shred of evidence that the D(-1) Rydberg CAN be made in 1E20 nucleons/second quantities, no reference to the overall energy-of-formation, no evidence that the diatoms can exist for more than attoseconds, nothing but speculative wishes that such a material holds promise to D+D=4He reactions (which is just an uber-popular topic, anyway). Therefore, it gets a 3 star SnakeOil award, coupled with 2 stars for the actual science, the novelty of the discovery, and the fine department of Physics at Gothenberg for letting these two obviously talented, and quite frankly queer, researchers have their limelight.

So, in summary, I have to say: "Sorry, dude, I just don't think it'll work."

=smudge=

Re:LOTS of missing details from TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27927549)

Hey, go easy on the periods.

Re:LOTS of missing details from TFA: (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927941)

There need be no "time of flight" if the state can be achieved in situ in a target immediately before it is struck by the compressing laser pulses. Thus you might hit a structured target with a pulse designed to create some D(-1) followed immediately by a compression and detonation pulse (or even structure the compression pulse to create some D(-1). You also need not rely on a D-D reaction: driving tritium nuclei into a core of D(-1) should enhance yield.

It's worth investigating.

Re:LOTS of missing details from TFA: (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927959)

OK, I don't know much about fission (just the nerd basics), and I'll trust (to a certain extent) that you know what you're talking about, and that the potential impact of this research as claimed i the press release, etc, is a crock of shit... but:

and the fine department of Physics at Gothenberg for letting these two obviously talented, and quite frankly queer, researchers have their limelight.

Seriously? WTF does their sexuality have to do with this? At all?

I've now disregarded everything you've written based upon that one comment.

Or, if I'm way off base here... nice troll. 9/10: you lost a point because I have this nagging suspicion that your post truly is a troll. If it wasn't a troll, kindly disregard this paragraph and what I have written above still stands.

Re:LOTS of missing details from TFA: (4, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928289)

Queer has more definitions than gay.

Peculiar, eccentric, those are more probable. Fake is also a valid definition but that probably doesn't apply. (Queer fiver as opposed to a queer scientist)

Re:LOTS of missing details from TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27928171)

I haven't seen that much smack laid down since Mr. T was on the A-Team!

Re:LOTS of missing details from TFA: (2, Funny)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928227)

So, in summary, I have to say: "Sorry, dude, I just don't think it'll work."

Hang on.. your post was too long - were you replying to the guy who suggested duct tape?

Re:LOTS of missing details from TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27928233)

No, these are the fragments that lasted just long enough for the D(-1) state to hold together in a laser beam for ATTOSECONDS.

So how many attoseconds does it need to be held together for a fusion reaction?

Re:LOTS of missing details from TFA: (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928319)

FIRST - ... [science omitted]

Hey! Enough with the science stuff. Frame your argument within a Star Trek or cartoon reference only, please.

What? (1)

DallasMay (1330587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927505)

"A cubic centimeter of the stuff would weigh 287 lbs. (130 kg)." Deuterium is just a Proton and a Neutron. Wouldn't it weigh the same thing as a helium atom?

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927593)

We're talking about density here. Besides a single atom of helium weighs more (than a single atom of D). It has two protons and two neutrons.

Re:What? (1)

NoStarchPlox (1552983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927813)

Did you miss the part of the title that said "ultra-dense"? As in they packed more atoms of it into the cubic centimeter than you would see in a normal amount of it.

yum (0, Offtopic)

ilblissli (1480165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927509)

porkchop sandwiches!

how does this not spontaneously fuse (3, Insightful)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927531)

Out of curiosity I looked up the density at the center of the sun [wikipedia.org] and got an answer of "150,000 kg/m3 (150 times the density of water on Earth)" which to me is less than "100,000 times more dense than water" So my question then became how does this not spontaneously fuse?

Re:how does this not spontaneously fuse (4, Informative)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927741)

The sun is much hotter. Fusion is a product of temperature and density.

Re:how does this not spontaneously fuse (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927977)

dont forget mass, the sun is pretty damn big too compared to earth standards

Re:how does this not spontaneously fuse (4, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927805)

The centre of the sun is less dense than you might think, owing to thermal and radiation pressure.

The energy from the aforementioned fusion counteracts the pressure from the outer layers pushing in. This state is one of equilibrium; reduce the rate of reaction and the core contracts, speeding fusion, increase the rate of reaction and the core expands, slowing the fusion back down again. The estimated density of the sun is much, much lower than the density would be for a non-fusing body of the same mass. If anything, this discrepancy will be more noticeable in the core, where the temperature is highest.

If no fusion reactions were occurring, which is what will happen when the fuel runs out, the core would contract until it became electron-degenerate matter, the material of a white dwarf star. With a more massive star, the contraction would continue past that point until neutron degeneracy took over (leading to a neutron star), or it passed the Swartzchild radius (leading to a black hole).

Metallic Deuterium ? (4, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927541)

There has been a long search for metallic hydrogen [wikipedia.org] , which is supposed to be (once made under high pressure) possibly both stable and superconducting [aps.org] at room temperature.

Given that metallic hydrogen is also supposed to be quite dense, I have to wonder if they haven't made metallic deuterium.

Re:Metallic Deuterium ? (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928029)

> I have to wonder if they haven't made metallic deuterium.

No. This is something quite different (if it exists at all).

Not necessarily a gas! (1)

ve3oat (884827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927557)

"Will it expand (explosively one would presume) back to its original volume?"

Isn't deuterium just heavy hydrogen (nucleus consisting of proton plus neutron). Why would it necessarily be a gas under normal circumstances (at STP)?

Re:Not necessarily a gas! (2, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927765)

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess: Physics!

Re:Not necessarily a gas! (2, Informative)

BlitzTech (1386589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928143)

Because the addition of a single (or even multiple) neutrons has a negligible effect on the chemical properties of a material. Just because the nucleus has approximately double the mass, doesn't mean it can behave that differently from hydrogen. Case in point: Noble gases. They've got enormous nuclei (especially by comparison to hydrogen and deuterium), but are still gases because they have very weak interactions with nearby atoms.

In short, deuterium is a gas at STP.

That's not to say they can't make UDD, but the pressure/temperature stability of the material is suspect.

Re:Not necessarily a gas! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928345)

It is well known to ordinarily be a gas at STP.

Ultra Dense Planet (1, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927561)

Wasn't there an article a while back about an exoplanet discovered that was so dense the astronomers couldn't even begin to speculate what it was made out of? This would seem to be an interesting candidate for an answer.

Really, stop and think about just how dense this stuff is. Fill a soda can with it and the can would weigh in at 35000 lbs! Even if all you did was burn it or use it in a fuel cell, the volume to energy ratio of this substance is amazing.

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (2, Funny)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927725)

I'm trying to imagine what would happen if you threw a 35000 lb soda can of UDD into the campfire.

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (4, Funny)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928059)

I'm having fun imagining him trying to lift and lightly toss 35 thousand pounds of anything.

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928097)

You'd probably have very sore arms.

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (1)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928295)

He has a special set of exercises with which he has already built up his arm.

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (5, Funny)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927749)

It's so dense that a single pound of it weighs over 10,000 pounds!

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928099)

Nice Futurama reference.

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27927793)

Good luck moving it to where you need it.

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928129)

Not really, it may be really dense, but chances are you wouldn't need very much of it.

The biggest problem with transport would be pressure (PSI). You can put a 35000 pound object on a well-constructed flatbed due to weight distribution. But putting it on an area 2 inches in diameter would probably punch right through the truck!

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (4, Funny)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927879)

You're right -- just think of what a boon this will be to the mining and drilling industries.

Because you know, that's all it's going to be good for. It's dense enough to fall through granite and limestone like they were tissue paper. I'm getting a figure of mechanical pressure that's about twice what hardened steel can take.

Fill a soda can with this stuff and watch it shoot down into the center of the Earth, with nothing you can do to stop it. If it's any consolation, after that it will probably fuse and explode.

I, for one, welcome our new swedish doomsday weapon.

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928133)

Like your comic. "The safe word is Nylarathotep" LOL

Re:Ultra Dense Planet (2, Interesting)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927965)

Burn it? It has no electrons, just nuclear particles held together very very tenuously. No electrons means no oxidation means no burning. This is an exotic state of matter whose existence is barely detectable. Too many posts here confuse it with ordinary fuels, of which it is not. It is not even similar to fuels in fission reactors, and as a few posts have pointed out its feasibility as a fusion fuel is not at all clear.

marketing the study of physics (4, Funny)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927573)

I don't think they could do much better than claim a major breakthrough in Hot Double-D Reactions.

Cheap energy with zero emissions is social justice (0)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927575)

Imagine a society where personal transportation via cars is available with zero emissions and cheap enough for every human who wants this. Perhaps this Dueterium thing is the path.

Re:Cheap energy with zero emissions is social just (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928089)

> Imagine a society where personal transportation via cars is available with zero
> emissions and cheap enough for every human who wants this.

And a pocket nuclear weapon as well.

The Air Force (1, Interesting)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927585)

Anyone want to start a pool on how long it will take for the military to want to tip missiles with it?

Re:The Air Force (1)

EvilToiletPaper (1226390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927675)

Given it's density, the missile would probably tip over before launch :)

Re:The Air Force (1)

DigitalPasture (1545473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927735)

That was actually the first thing I thought of when I read the headline. This would make a much more efficient (and actually "cleaner") thermonuclear weapon. It might also lend itself to further miniaturization.

If they do make a cube... (1)

endothermicnuke (1307123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927609)

I have a feeling it'll sink through the ground and end up at the centre of the earth.

Re:If they do make a cube... (2, Interesting)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928155)

The closer you get to the center of the earth, the more mass is above you. After getting about half-way to the center, there would be quite a bit less force pulling you to the middle.

Question? (1)

whitefang1121 (1432411) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927665)

The real question is, how will it cost to mass-produce such a "heavy" item, and even if it deosn't weigh as much as he says, then how long would it take to even find enough to mass-produce it?

Could you imagine? (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927669)

A cubic centimeter of the stuff would weigh 287 lbs. (130 kg).

How surreal it would be to have an object the size of a sugar cube that would be so heavy!

Re:Could you imagine? (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927715)

Just imagine if such a substance existed naturally and wasn't deadly under normal conditions. Weight rooms and fitness equipment would be so much smaller, or the counter-balance of cranes would be relatively tiny. A large number of applications exist for ultra dense materials it's a shame something more mundane and naturally occurring doesn't exist(as far as we know).

Re:Could you imagine? (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928175)

Some weight rooms are already starting to use heavy-duty springs for some of their equipment. Not only are they smaller, but they weigh a LOT less than dead weight and are easier to move and swap out.

Re:Could you imagine? (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928381)

Interesting I didn't know this! Then again I work out about as often as your average sea slug. Don't these springs become imprecise over time though?

"Dammit, what weighs seventy kilos?!" (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928253)

How surreal it would be to have an object the size of a sugar cube that would be so heavy!

Tarrant: A neutron star?
Avon: A microscopic fragment of one. It's the only possible explanation. It was unbelievably heavy.
Dayna: So how could Egrorian have planted it aboard?
Avon: He must have reprogrammed that automatic landing bay of his.
Soolin: And you moved it on your own?
Avon: I couldn't find Vila.
Vila: I'm glad about that.
Tarrant: Pity about the tachyon funnel, though.
Avon: We had no choice.
Vila: It's a trip I won't forget, Avon.
Avon: Well, as you always say, Vila: you know you are safe with me.

Re:Could you imagine? (1)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928337)

Makes a great desktop paperweight for any area prone to the occasional hurricane.

Not a cubic centimetre... (2, Informative)

toby (759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927695)

The FA says a 10cm cube, i.e. 1000 cubic centimetres, would weigh 130 tonnes.

Re:Not a cubic centimetre... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927803)

So a 1cm cube, i.e., 1 cubic centimetre, would weigh 130 tonnes / 1000 [google.com] , or 130kg.

They're just reducing the figures. The math still holds.

Re:Not a cubic centimetre... (4, Informative)

jsiren (886858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927973)

The FA says a 10cm cube, i.e. 1000 cubic centimetres, would weigh 130 tonnes.

Metric isn't that hard.

If 10 cm * 10 cm * 10 cm = 1000 cm^3 weighs 130 000 kg, then 1 cm * 1 cm * 1 cm = 1 cm^3 weighs 130 kg.

Not involving tritium? (2, Interesting)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927707)

Such a D-D fusion reaction would be cleaner than one involving highly radioactive tritium.

Deuterium + Deuterium = Tritium + Proton (50%) or Helium 3 + Neutron (50%). Must be an unusual definition of "not involving".

don't let it go to waste (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927731)

get the Bussard collectors ready. We need to start storing this stuff!

Re:don't let it go to waste (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928067)

Should that not be "Get the Broussard [shacknews.com] collectors ready"?

It is an extremely dense material... (2, Funny)

Carnth (609080) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927733)

each pound of which weighs over ten thousand pounds.

Re:It is an extremely dense material... (1)

CannedTurkey (920516) | more than 5 years ago | (#27928079)

lol.

two words (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927785)

food saver

I am a skeptic (1)

u19925 (613350) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927825)

I strongly doubt you can make UDD in any large amount. The laws of QM dictates that electrons cannot reach closer to nuclei than Bohr's radius and hence they cannot cancel out the p-p electrostatic repulsion. In tiny amount, this may occur if somehow you can manage to create some external forces which adds in a right way, but at large scale, you can't do that. This is as bizarre as cold fusion and I refuse to believe it (I will believe it if they can make 0.01 cubic milli-meter of UDD with a mass of 1 gm and is stable for more than 1 sec).

From TFA and Researcher's home page (2, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927865)

No clue here as to production, but possibly in the references below. Anyone have access to these?

"A much denser state exists for deuterium, named D(-1). We call it ultra-dense deuterium. This is the inverse of D(1), and the bond distance is very small, equal to 2.3 pm. Its density is extremely large, >130 kg / cm3, if it can exist as a dense phase. Due to the short bond distance, D-D fusion is expected to take place easily in this material. See Ref. 179 below!"

183. S. Badiei, P. U. Andersson and L. Holmlid, "High-energy Coulomb explosions in ultra-dense deuterium: time-of-flight mass spectrometry with variable energy and flight length". Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 282 (2009) 70-76.

179. S. Badiei, P. U. Andersson and L. Holmlid, "Fusion reactions in high-density hydrogen: a fast route to small-scale fusion?" Int. J. Hydr. Energy 34 (2009) 487-495.

178. L. Holmlid, "Clusters HN+ (N = 4, 6, 12) from condensed atomic hydrogen and deuterium indicating close-packed structures in the desorbed phase at an active catalyst surface". Surf. Sci. 602 (2008) 3381â"3387.

176. S. Badiei and L. Holmlid, "Condensed atomic hydrogen as a possible target in inertial confinement fusion (ICF)". J. Fusion Energ. 27 (2008) 296â"300.

I don't see the necessity for brute force compression. H can be highly compressed while trapped in metal crystal lattice, such as in H saturated palladium. The individual energies are still high but due to being already in close proximity much of the squeezing has already been done. Such a lattice that can then be removed, dissolved, etc. might leave high density H droppings.

ultra-dense deuterium (3, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27927873)

Please, please, please don't let them call it deuterium ore [wordpress.com] .

Re:ultra-dense deuterium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27928235)

I think they are calling it UDD. Your paranoia of language is something you should seek professional help for resolving.

D ice sinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27928199)

since D ice sinks, it is more dense than water. H ice floats. This stuff is a million times more dense than D ice, but only hundred thousand times as dense was water? backwards material. Does it go back in time too?

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