Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

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Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by kilopi505 » 2018-07-13 10:37am

Hello folks! It's been a long time since I have posted anything here.

Anyways...in magical fiction there are always scenes of transfiguring objects from one thing to another, right? And one of the most common is making metal objects change to another kind of metal. So my questions are the following:

1) Supposing a metal object is transmuted/transfigured to another kind of metal through magic. Disregarding the presence of magic, should radiations of all sorts be coming out of the metal object that is being transformed during the entire time that magic is being applied to the metal object?

2) Regarding the radiation being poured out, if the answer to Question 1 is yes, would the said radiation be of the nuclear bomb kind if the metal object being transformed is made out of elements that are higher in the periodic table being turned into elements that are lower in the periodic table? For example, Bronze into Steel. Gold into Silver. Copper into Aluminum.

3) Is it possible to make a nuclear explosion out of the said transformation of metal objects if the answer to Question 2 is yes? And if so, how much yield should one expect from 1.5 Kilograms of say...Bronze into Steel?

I'm eagerly waiting for the answer.

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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-13 12:36pm

I think the best answer is "not enough data." It very much depends on how the transfiguration/transmutation is happening.

If, say, the effect is taking a 1 kilo mass of (for example) gold (atomic number 79) and turning it into aluminium (number 13) by taking each gold nuclei, splitting off any unneeded protons/neutrons and throwing them away then yes, you'd wind up with a number of aluminium atoms left behind and an identical number of Europium (number 63) isotopes being thrown off - which would be messy but probably not fatal.

If, on the other hand, it's taking the gold nuclei and splitting them up into a number of smaller aluminium nuclei (you should get six plus a spare proton) then you'd have a lot less emissions, but that'd be of the neutron variety and a chunk of gamma rays.

Of course, if you're trying to do it the other way around and turn, say, iron into gold (a common theme in magic settings) that would take energy, not emit it.

However, since vary rarely, if ever, do we see wizards waving wands and turning iron into gold or any material into any other material and then getting hit by a sleet of neutron radiation, gamma rays and/or hydrogen gas, so presumably the magic has some way of containing and/or avoiding any particle or energy emissions.

EDIT: Damnit. To more directly answer a few things, we can't "disregard" the presence of magic, sicne that's what's making this transmutation possible in the first place. If we could make gold turn into silver, there should be particle emissions and/or radiation, but not nuke-level I would think. Since we don't see that, magic is being...magic.

Oh, and bronze isn't an element, it's an alloy of (IIRC) copper and tin.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-13 12:56pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-07-13 12:36pm
However, since vary rarely, if ever, do we see wizards waving wands and turning iron into gold or any material into any other material and then getting hit by a sleet of neutron radiation, gamma rays and/or hydrogen gas, so presumably the magic has some way of containing and/or avoiding any particle or energy emissions.
(emphasis mine)

^That's pretty much always what happens. I can't say I've ever seen a fantasy scenario where transmutation was ever particularly dangerous in THIS particular way. If it's dangerous, it's usually along the lines of 'wizard tries to transmute something, Unintended Consequences (TM) happen'.

Simple explanation: most writers don't think in terms of science when writing fantasy.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-13 01:06pm

Admittedly my reading of fantasy is mostly limited to Harry Potter fanfics, but the only ones I can tihnk of where conjuring/transfiguring materials was deemed as dangerous or risky was "Methods of Rationality" and "Harry Potter and the Paradigm Shift."

In the first, transfiguration is called extremely dangeorus because, as they repeatedly emphasise, transfiguration ins't permanent, so turning rock into a sandwich, having someone eat and digest it, then the effect wears off and sudden;y their bloodstream is full of gravel - same applied to turning solids into liquids or gasses. No mention of radiation/particle emission, just "it ain't permanent so don't mess with this."

In the second, Harry manages to conjure antimatter in tiny amounts as an anti-personnel weapon and says that any 7th years student could do it but would likely vaporise Hogwarts if they tried.

Basically, the mere presence of magic throws normal physical laws so far out the window that speculating on what emissions you'd get from turning iron into aluminium is ridiculous - conservation of energy and momentum at the very least don't seem to apply (one HP spell is literally "Arresto Momento" to slow falling bodies), so yeah. It's magic, magic has it's own rules that vary from setting to setting, real-world physics need not apply.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Zixinus » 2018-07-13 02:04pm

The whole point of magic is that you can avoid the usual problems of rationality and known science to please whatever worldbuilding whim you desire.

Presumably the magical reactions manage to avoid all the messy side-effects of giving or taking protons from atomic nuclei. Unless the author wants that included.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Crazedwraith » 2018-07-13 02:19pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-07-13 12:36pm
Of course, if you're trying to do it the other way around and turn, say, iron into gold (a common theme in magic settings) that would take energy, not emit it.
Nitpick: unless I misremember my physics A-level, (perfectly possible), iron is the peak of the nuclear stability and has minimal binding energy. Things lighter than iron fuse up into it releasing energy, thing heavier are split down to iron also releasing energy. Which is why we can generate energy from two opposite processes.

eta: which would of course mean you're totally right you would need to input energy to go anywhere from iron.

I will leave my brainfart up for mockery.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-13 02:28pm

You are quite correct, but so am I - gold is element number 79, Iron is number 26 - so turning iron into gold would require fusion of at least two iron nuclei, which means it needs energy to be put in, or some other high-energy process.

Incidentally, the whole magical/fantasy idea of gold being really difficult to make turns out to be completely true in the real world as well - even supernovae explosions aren't energetic enough to make the stuff, you need colliding neutron stars instead.

EDIT: Ninja'd by an edit, but oh well :)
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by kilopi505 » 2018-07-13 02:54pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-07-13 12:36pm
I think the best answer is "not enough data." It very much depends on how the transfiguration/transmutation is happening.

If, say, the effect is taking a 1 kilo mass of (for example) gold (atomic number 79) and turning it into aluminium (number 13) by taking each gold nuclei, splitting off any unneeded protons/neutrons and throwing them away then yes, you'd wind up with a number of aluminium atoms left behind and an identical number of Europium (number 63) isotopes being thrown off - which would be messy but probably not fatal.

If, on the other hand, it's taking the gold nuclei and splitting them up into a number of smaller aluminium nuclei (you should get six plus a spare proton) then you'd have a lot less emissions, but that'd be of the neutron variety and a chunk of gamma rays.

Of course, if you're trying to do it the other way around and turn, say, iron into gold (a common theme in magic settings) that would take energy, not emit it.

However, since vary rarely, if ever, do we see wizards waving wands and turning iron into gold or any material into any other material and then getting hit by a sleet of neutron radiation, gamma rays and/or hydrogen gas, so presumably the magic has some way of containing and/or avoiding any particle or energy emissions.

EDIT: Damnit. To more directly answer a few things, we can't "disregard" the presence of magic, sicne that's what's making this transmutation possible in the first place. If we could make gold turn into silver, there should be particle emissions and/or radiation, but not nuke-level I would think. Since we don't see that, magic is being...magic.

Oh, and bronze isn't an element, it's an alloy of (IIRC) copper and tin.
Well, it's for my story so I can fill in the "How"

This is the two parts of the chapter in progress that is in concern:

==============================================================================================================================

The upper receiver and all the parts that belong to it were colored in various shades of grey, as opposed to the all black of the ordinary Type 89. The lower receiver, on the other hand, was made of a bronze colored metal that seemed to be twice as thick as the ordinary Type 89 lower receiver. And the handguards and the butt stock were made of wood.

“I’m just as surprised as you are kid,” the armorer stated. “Mr. Krauncha, could you please explain what you did here?”

“Sure. For the lower receiver I used gunmetal bronze because I’m not confident using the steels I know of for any structural frame that thin. I also used wood in place of steel and plastic for the stock and the handguard because of the same reason. As for the upper receiver, the action and all the screws, I used the various steels and irons involved in creating the metal parts of a ‘Smellie’ rifle for the analogues of said parts in the Type 89.”

“And those are?” the armorer asked in a skeptical manner. He was promptly surprised by the torrent of information that came out of Krauncha’s mouth.

“BSS51 Wrought Iron, both grades A and B. Three different kinds of black cast steel. Black mild steel, mild steel, black rolled cast steel, steel with 1 percent carbon and point 2 percent manganese and silicon and very little others , bright cold drawn mild steel, crucible steel, bright cold rolled cast and bright cold rolled mild. Any problems?”

Due to a lack of knowledge on the subject, all I could tell from what Krauncha said was that he replaced the stamped steel and polymer with wood and whatever steel the internal parts of a Type 89 was made of with various other kinds of steel I had never known about before.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The armorer had finished assembling the copy Krauncha made. And it looked...functional.

The armorer pulled back the bolt and then gently let it go back to its normal place, and then tested out the balance of the weapon.

"What do you think?" Krauncha asked with a smile on his face.

"It's heavier than a normal Type 89," the armorer grumbled. "Thankfully you didn't wreck the balance with your improvisation."

"If the balance changes then use the bipod. Isn't that what that thing is for?" Krauncha retorted.

Before the armorer managed to reply Izanami spoke up, reminding everyone that she was standing there all this time.

"Pardon me. May I ask how sorely needed is making the composition of the magical copy of your weapon be exactly the same as your weapon itself? Because if an exact copy is what was required, I have an idea I could try.”

The armorer said it was sorely needed with a big, wide smile while Krauncha looked a bit disgruntled. That was quickly followed by Izanami saying she needed to touch the weapon, and then stepping forward to place both her hands on the rifle.

Izanami then quickly closed her eyes, and then she and the rifle started to have this soft, reddish aura around them.

“I am Izanami, mother of islands and gods. I will this weapon to shed and twist into the weapon made out of my children."

The soft reddish glow around the Type 89 intensified into a red orange light after she finished saying those words. Several seconds later the magical glow around Izanami and the rifle quickly faded away, followed by Izanami stepping away from the rifle with a smile.

"It became lighter," the armorer commented as he again tested the balance of the Type 89 in his hands while inspecting it. "Did you turn the bronze into steel?"

"I made all the metal in Mr. Krauncha's gun become exactly the same as the gun he copied it from."

"And you did it in the most terrifying way possible!" Krauncha screamed hysterically at the goddess, who looked surprise at the sudden shouting directed at her. "Really?! Making metal shed and twist into another kind of metal?! That’s the dumbed down description of how to make a nuclear explosion happen you idiot of a creator goddess!”

==============================================================================================================================

So, shed and twist. What I was envisioning was the protons, electrons and neutrons were all disassembled from each other. And then reassembled into specific alloys. All the subatomic particles that were left without other particles to partner with were just...let go like one lets go of a dove at a wedding ceremony.

So, after something like that, would the leftover subatomic particles be very, very...excited? That is the term, right? Excited enough to be radioactive in a bad way?


As for the Bronze, ok.

Changing a Copper-Tin alloy into an Iron-Carbon alloy.

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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by kilopi505 » 2018-07-14 09:46am

Ok. I'm got ideas for the plot, I just need to pass this by you folks.

If all the electrons, protons and neutrons were uncoupled from each other at the same time, and then reassembled into the desired element, would the leftover subatomic particles (that is not paired with anything else but are maintained as separate particles from each other) that is released by just throwing them all in some direction be harmful to humans from what the particles just went through? Or would they be as harmless as a suntan?

If they are harmful, would taking out the energy that is still possessed by these subatomic particles going to render them harmless to humans if they hit flesh? Or does radioactivity of subatomic particles not work that way?

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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Zixinus » 2018-07-14 01:51pm

If you "throw" excess particles in a direction, you will be creating radiation. There is something called "braking radiation", which is gamma rays caused by high-energy particles colliding with relatively stationary particles, at least with nuclei particles of protons and neutrons. Electrons would still cause EM radiation but lower down the spectrum (still possibly harmful X-rays or more harmless light). This is a primary mechanism for radiation damage, rather than the particles themselves hitting flesh.

The question here is about energies and bonding energy. I'd need to look it up, but I think atoms clustered into a nuclei have less overall energy than those particles as if they were seperate, at least with elements with a lower atomic number than iron. That is why fusion reactions create energy with atoms with a number less than iron, while fusing atoms with a atomic number higher than iron drains energy.

So if you add together lower-than-iron nuclei, you are freeing energy and "freed" particles will have that energy, causing harmful radiation. With higher-than-iron reactions, you will be draining energy although you might still be creating radiation.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2018-07-14 01:59pm

Depends on the setting. Magic can't transmute materials in The Second Apocalypse. You can do it in the Laundry Files, but the radiation is very much in play. In Matt Stover's Caine books, it is possible to transmute materials and manage the radiation. In D&D, transmutation of metals is harmless.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by kilopi505 » 2018-07-14 03:06pm

Imperial Overlord wrote:
2018-07-14 01:59pm
Depends on the setting. Magic can't transmute materials in The Second Apocalypse. You can do it in the Laundry Files, but the radiation is very much in play. In Matt Stover's Caine books, it is possible to transmute materials and manage the radiation. In D&D, transmutation of metals is harmless.
It's my setting.
Zixinus wrote:
2018-07-14 01:51pm
If you "throw" excess particles in a direction, you will be creating radiation. There is something called "braking radiation", which is gamma rays caused by high-energy particles colliding with relatively stationary particles, at least with nuclei particles of protons and neutrons. Electrons would still cause EM radiation but lower down the spectrum (still possibly harmful X-rays or more harmless light). This is a primary mechanism for radiation damage, rather than the particles themselves hitting flesh.

The question here is about energies and bonding energy. I'd need to look it up, but I think atoms clustered into a nuclei have less overall energy than those particles as if they were seperate, at least with elements with a lower atomic number than iron. That is why fusion reactions create energy with atoms with a number less than iron, while fusing atoms with a atomic number higher than iron drains energy.

So if you add together lower-than-iron nuclei, you are freeing energy and "freed" particles will have that energy, causing harmful radiation. With higher-than-iron reactions, you will be draining energy although you might still be creating radiation.
Ok...I'll try to see if I understood this right.

So the most probable result of "throwing" the subatomic particles away is Braking Radiation and X-Rays or Light. But since I am...downsizing/downgrading? elements that are higher in the periodic table than iron, I shouldn't expect much Braking radiation and X-Rays or Light to come out because the energy is already being eaten at the same time?

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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Zixinus » 2018-07-14 04:57pm

After a moment of thought , a correction: no, you can still expect copious amounts of radiation. If you take an atom and take away nuclei (protons, neutrons) than you are splitting atoms. That is, you are doing nuclear fission. If you are doing this with higher-than-iron atoms, you can especially expect the release of energy because you are then releasing the excess energy required to make heavier-than-iron atoms by fusion. I don't know about fission of elements lighter than iron but I am sure that you'll get some kind of radiation either way.

If not creating those reactions but simply removing a few protons and neutrons, you then have another problem: you are destabilizing atoms and thus making them decay into more stable atoms. Which they do by releasing radiation at rate of the destabilized atom's half-life. How long is variable, as it is the half-life of various different configurations of the same-number atom.

Nuclear reactions are very energetic. Unless your magic does it in a different way that avoids radiation. Or better, you have a way to absorb all the ionizing radiation and make use of it without harm to humans (unless you want that). That said, ionizing radiation in of itself will have limited range due to inverse-square-law and how air blocks radiation (unless you have some way to focus gamma rays somehow into something like a laser, you sorta can with x-rays). While direct exposure to gamma rays is bad for you (depends on variable things), the worst forms of radiation humans get is when they inhale, ingest or otherwise inject radioisitopes (radioactive materials, said unstable matter) into their body. Causing them to be irradiated from the inside out.

Remember iodine? How people in the US started to buy it in droves (extremely unnecessarily) when the Japanese Fukushima accident (and other such accidents)? That's because when a fission reactor has damage that releases some of its fuel into the atmosphere, one of the worst radioisotopes that is released is a radioactive version of iodine. That people could ingest by eating it from plants that absorbed it or animals that eat said plants. Ingesting stable, non-radioactive iodine prevents that by making filling your body with safe iodine and make you flush out the (possibly radioactive) excess.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-07-15 06:15am

I remember this setting!

Can i suggest for an island creator goddess, geothermal energy or tidal represents significant energy pools to draw or dump into?
In this case shes mostly making stuff into iron (steel) and reducing mass overall. So lots of energy needed to make the atoms into iron and lots of energy created by mass to energy conversion.
Maybe a slight tremor, barely registered by instruments, as the energy flux dumped into the crust spreads out. For an island creator goddess, alpha radiation tastes fizzy.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by kilopi505 » 2018-07-15 09:14am

Zixinus wrote:
2018-07-14 04:57pm
After a moment of thought , a correction: no, you can still expect copious amounts of radiation. If you take an atom and take away nuclei (protons, neutrons) than you are splitting atoms. That is, you are doing nuclear fission. If you are doing this with higher-than-iron atoms, you can especially expect the release of energy because you are then releasing the excess energy required to make heavier-than-iron atoms by fusion. I don't know about fission of elements lighter than iron but I am sure that you'll get some kind of radiation either way.

If not creating those reactions but simply removing a few protons and neutrons, you then have another problem: you are destabilizing atoms and thus making them decay into more stable atoms. Which they do by releasing radiation at rate of the destabilized atom's half-life. How long is variable, as it is the half-life of various different configurations of the same-number atom.

Nuclear reactions are very energetic. Unless your magic does it in a different way that avoids radiation. Or better, you have a way to absorb all the ionizing radiation and make use of it without harm to humans (unless you want that). That said, ionizing radiation in of itself will have limited range due to inverse-square-law and how air blocks radiation (unless you have some way to focus gamma rays somehow into something like a laser, you sorta can with x-rays). While direct exposure to gamma rays is bad for you (depends on variable things), the worst forms of radiation humans get is when they inhale, ingest or otherwise inject radioisitopes (radioactive materials, said unstable matter) into their body. Causing them to be irradiated from the inside out.
I see. Thanks for helping me. I got ideas now.
madd0ct0r wrote:
2018-07-15 06:15am
I remember this setting!

Can i suggest for an island creator goddess, geothermal energy or tidal represents significant energy pools to draw or dump into?
In this case shes mostly making stuff into iron (steel) and reducing mass overall. So lots of energy needed to make the atoms into iron and lots of energy created by mass to energy conversion.
Maybe a slight tremor, barely registered by instruments, as the energy flux dumped into the crust spreads out. For an island creator goddess, alpha radiation tastes fizzy.
Thanks for remembering! And thanks for the suggestion! :D

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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Zixinus » 2018-07-15 02:30pm

Oh, and another thing that I just remembered: not all nuclear reactions necessarily produce ionizing radiation (in incredibly large amounts).

There is something called aneutronic fusion. This is fusion with specific elements whose fusion produces (mostly) charged particles rather than neutrons. This is not only good news from a shielding/safety perspective , but from efficiency. If you can capture those charged particles, you can create an electric charge with far more efficiency than using the standard heat cycle. You will still need SOME shielding because you'll not always get aneutronic reactions and other inefficiencies.

Note that for fusion to occur you need vacuum.

Also, destabilizing atoms is not necessarily bad: if you do it to the right ones you'll turn their half-lives measured in years to one in seconds or even less. Which produces lots of radiation short-term but ends with stable elements (that are not radioactive). Which solves the problem of radioactive waste rather neatly if you have enough control over exposure and elements (you'll need to purify the waste for starters).

You can also use this beneficially with fission, creating fuels from atoms that are otherwise not suitable as such in a (non-magical) reactor. Uranium-238 is more common but unsuitable for fission. Uranium 235 however is very good. You can also do this with more common materials like thorium, which there are real-life plans to do so (turn them from a by-product to usable fuel for specially-designed reactors).

Using fusion and more precision control, you can also create radioisotopes that mostly produce alpha or beta radiation. Since these are charged particles, it would be (theoretically) possible to capture them and convert them to electricity.

But without that, you can also still produce stable (if finite and steadily decreasing) energy source by utilizing them as a heat source (RTGs. This is what RTGs do in some space probes and even pace-makers.

One more thing: there is another type of radiation, neutron radiation that is non-ionizing. This is bad because this is the type of radiation that not only causes braking radiation but also can potentially make other things radioactive. If you are messing about, this is the type of radiation that can cause lots of problem without a very good containment.
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by SpottedKitty » 2018-07-15 09:05pm

This reminds me of a chapter out of a story written by a friend many years back, with a mostly Typical Fantasy Scenario™ plus... oddities. Some time before the story, a famous alchemist had one more go at the old Lead Into Gold schtick, and this time he succeeded. Sort of. Except he didn't get gold, the slightly scorched experimental pentagram contained a few small nuggets of an unknown metal, that glowed with a pretty pale blue colour. His last message sent out to fellow alchemists was that he planned to cook up a big chunk of metal X, enough to do some interesting experiments with it. Hundreds of years later, the resultant crater is still considered dangrously poisonous... :twisted: :roll: :wink:
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by kilopi505 » 2018-07-16 07:25am

SpottedKitty wrote:
2018-07-15 09:05pm
This reminds me of a chapter out of a story written by a friend many years back, with a mostly Typical Fantasy Scenario™ plus... oddities. Some time before the story, a famous alchemist had one more go at the old Lead Into Gold schtick, and this time he succeeded. Sort of. Except he didn't get gold, the slightly scorched experimental pentagram contained a few small nuggets of an unknown metal, that glowed with a pretty pale blue colour. His last message sent out to fellow alchemists was that he planned to cook up a big chunk of metal X, enough to do some interesting experiments with it. Hundreds of years later, the resultant crater is still considered dangrously poisonous... :twisted: :roll: :wink:
Oooh.

I'm interested. Please give a link to the story.
Zixinus wrote:
2018-07-15 02:30pm
Oh, and another thing that I just remembered: not all nuclear reactions necessarily produce ionizing radiation (in incredibly large amounts).

There is something called aneutronic fusion. This is fusion with specific elements whose fusion produces (mostly) charged particles rather than neutrons. This is not only good news from a shielding/safety perspective , but from efficiency. If you can capture those charged particles, you can create an electric charge with far more efficiency than using the standard heat cycle. You will still need SOME shielding because you'll not always get aneutronic reactions and other inefficiencies.

Note that for fusion to occur you need vacuum.

Also, destabilizing atoms is not necessarily bad: if you do it to the right ones you'll turn their half-lives measured in years to one in seconds or even less. Which produces lots of radiation short-term but ends with stable elements (that are not radioactive). Which solves the problem of radioactive waste rather neatly if you have enough control over exposure and elements (you'll need to purify the waste for starters).

You can also use this beneficially with fission, creating fuels from atoms that are otherwise not suitable as such in a (non-magical) reactor. Uranium-238 is more common but unsuitable for fission. Uranium 235 however is very good. You can also do this with more common materials like thorium, which there are real-life plans to do so (turn them from a by-product to usable fuel for specially-designed reactors).

Using fusion and more precision control, you can also create radioisotopes that mostly produce alpha or beta radiation. Since these are charged particles, it would be (theoretically) possible to capture them and convert them to electricity.

But without that, you can also still produce stable (if finite and steadily decreasing) energy source by utilizing them as a heat source (RTGs. This is what RTGs do in some space probes and even pace-makers.

One more thing: there is another type of radiation, neutron radiation that is non-ionizing. This is bad because this is the type of radiation that not only causes braking radiation but also can potentially make other things radioactive. If you are messing about, this is the type of radiation that can cause lots of problem without a very good containment.
If only there's a like button here. Thanks for the additional information!

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Vendetta
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by Vendetta » 2018-07-16 01:52pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-07-13 12:56pm
Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-07-13 12:36pm
However, since vary rarely, if ever, do we see wizards waving wands and turning iron into gold or any material into any other material and then getting hit by a sleet of neutron radiation, gamma rays and/or hydrogen gas, so presumably the magic has some way of containing and/or avoiding any particle or energy emissions.
(emphasis mine)

^That's pretty much always what happens. I can't say I've ever seen a fantasy scenario where transmutation was ever particularly dangerous in THIS particular way. If it's dangerous, it's usually along the lines of 'wizard tries to transmute something, Unintended Consequences (TM) happen'.

Simple explanation: most writers don't think in terms of science when writing fantasy.
Charles Stross' Laundry Files include the atomic consequences of transmutation.
The Rhesus Chart wrote:Basilisk guns are a nasty little spin-off of research into medusae, and our happy fun way of dealing with other universes. It's an observer-mediate quantum affect that applies a rather odd probability field to whatever it focusses on. About one carbon-12 or carbon-13 nucleus in a hundred, in the target, is spontaneously swapped for a silicon-28 or silicon-29 nucleus...The effect is rather dramatic. Lots of bonds break, lots of energy comes spewing out. Protein molecules go twang, nucleotide chains snap, everything gets rather hot. To a naive bystander, the target turns to stone - or rather, to red-hot, carbon-riddled cinderblock

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SpottedKitty
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Re: Question regarding fantasy transfiguration of metal objects and nuclear reactions

Post by SpottedKitty » 2018-07-16 07:56pm

kilopi505 wrote:
2018-07-16 07:25am
Oooh.

I'm interested. Please give a link to the story.
Umm... this is embarassing, it's been so long I can't remember the actual name of the story. Here's his folder in the VCL Archive, anyway; it's the text files named "Kawaii" — drat, and I've just noticed it's an unfinished story, and chapter 4 is missing as well. The Twisted Zone is mentioned here and there, but the characters don't get there until chapter 6. (I'm re-reading it myself, so I can't really say much about the story.)
“Despite rumor, Death isn't cruel — merely terribly, terribly good at his job.”
Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

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