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Thread: How do you crush an atom?

  1. #1 How do you crush an atom? 
    Forum Freshman The Huntsman's Avatar
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    Have atoms been crushed before?

    Aren't blackholes filled with atoms that have been crushed? Are we able to do this here on earth? If so, what happens?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Crushing? You mean destroy an atom? Well, ions have been destroyed by accelerating them near light speed, and then making them impact on one another. "Stardust". Done in the LHC and actually most particle accelerators.


    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  4. #3  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Huntsman View Post
    Have atoms been crushed before?

    Aren't blackholes filled with atoms that have been crushed? Are we able to do this here on earth? If so, what happens?
    I think this belongs in Physics rather than Chemistry, but I suppose it's a fair question. The problem with black holes is we have no way to get any information about what goes on inside. But there most certainly are crushed atoms in a neutron star, for instance. What happens is that gravity is so powerful that it crushes the cloud of electrons that surrounds the nucleus of atoms into the nucleus, so that all the protons become neutrons, hence the name. More about these here: Neutron star - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I don't know if this has been mimicked in any laboratory. I have no idea how one might set about it.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman The Huntsman's Avatar
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    I don't mean destroying the atom or splitting it, I mean pushing the electron cloud closer to the nucleus. Probably should have worded that better

    Is this possible? Could you have to hydraulic arms pushing into eachother so hard that it pushes the cloud closer together? Or can gravity only do this? What substance have you got when you have a neutron?
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  6. #5  
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    Electrons protons and neutrons are not actually solid objects with actual locations.
    It is not like there are little BB balls flying around a collection of bowling balls or anything like that.
    An atom is basically an empty space with charges of energy appearing inside it at random locations. The laws that govern the subatomic particles are all laws of probability instead of laws of determinist mechanics.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Huntsman View Post
    I don't mean destroying the atom or splitting it, I mean pushing the electron cloud closer to the nucleus. Probably should have worded that better

    Is this possible? Could you have to hydraulic arms pushing into eachother so hard that it pushes the cloud closer together? Or can gravity only do this? What substance have you got when you have a neutron?
    Ah, OK. See Dan Hunter's reply about the empty space in atoms. But, it is certainly the case that the normal size of an atom, as measured by the interatomic distances in a solid (or to some extent a liquid) substance, is the size at which the electrons and nuclei are at equilibrium. If you compress any solid (or liquid), you are in effect squeezing the electrons into a slightly smaller space than they would naturally occupy. So you have squeezed the atoms.

    In a gas, this is not the case, since the large volume gases occupy is due to the molecules themselves moving rapidly in space, leaving big gaps between them. So when a gas is compressed the space is reduced but the molecules and their constituent atoms are not squeezed.

    For this reason we often describe liquids and solids as "incompressible", compared to gases. In fact you CAN compress solids and liquids, a bit, with difficulty, but the force needed is far, far higher than for a gas, precisely because when you compress a solid or liquid it is the electrons in the atoms themselves that are being squeezed.
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  8. #7  
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    You might want to look up Neutronium.
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  9. #8  
    Goddess of Eternity rmbettencourt's Avatar
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    You must be thinking of neutrons not atoms. Prior to a blackhole, is a neutron star (correct me if I am wrong, or do not remember something from a year ago). Here is my favourite documentary regarding the topic.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve71yBqRtcE
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmbettencourt View Post
    You must be thinking of neutrons not atoms. Prior to a blackhole, is a neutron star (correct me if I am wrong, or do not remember something from a year ago). Here is my favourite documentary regarding the topic.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve71yBqRtcE
    Read the whole correspondence. The question was about exactly that sort of thing, i.e. what do you get if you squash atoms. Neutrons stars are an example. Though it later turned out the poster was more interested in just squeezing them a bit, rather than forcing the electrons into the nucleus.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Huntsman View Post
    I don't mean destroying the atom or splitting it, I mean pushing the electron cloud closer to the nucleus. Probably should have worded that better

    Is this possible? Could you have to hydraulic arms pushing into eachother so hard that it pushes the cloud closer together? Or can gravity only do this? What substance have you got when you have a neutron?
    As far as I know the only way to reduce the size of atoms is through the natural process of gravity. But suppose you could alter the electric charge in the protons and electrons? It seems if you could increase the charge, the protons and electrons would have a stronger attraction for eachother and I would think this would pull the electron cloud around the atom nucleus into a smaller shell around the nucleus. This would then produce a smaller atom.

    If this is something that could ever be done. Just think what it would mean to the chemical bonds between atoms? They would be a whole lot stronger and the resulting materials would be almost indestructible compared to what we are used to.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rmbettencourt View Post
    You must be thinking of neutrons not atoms. Prior to a blackhole, is a neutron star (correct me if I am wrong, or do not remember something from a year ago). Here is my favourite documentary regarding the topic.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve71yBqRtcE
    Read the whole correspondence. The question was about exactly that sort of thing, i.e. what do you get if you squash atoms. Neutrons stars are an example. Though it later turned out the poster was more interested in just squeezing them a bit, rather than forcing the electrons into the nucleus.
    Okay, but can you tell me if I was right about the information I gave out? I would not like staying a buffoon if I was wrong.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmbettencourt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rmbettencourt View Post
    You must be thinking of neutrons not atoms. Prior to a blackhole, is a neutron star (correct me if I am wrong, or do not remember something from a year ago). Here is my favourite documentary regarding the topic.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve71yBqRtcE
    Read the whole correspondence. The question was about exactly that sort of thing, i.e. what do you get if you squash atoms. Neutrons stars are an example. Though it later turned out the poster was more interested in just squeezing them a bit, rather than forcing the electrons into the nucleus.
    Okay, but can you tell me if I was right about the information I gave out? I would not like staying a buffoon if I was wrong.
    What you said was "Prior to a black hole, is a neutron star" [sic]. Looks as if a word was missing. So I'm not sure what information you were trying to impart.

    I'm not an astrophysicist but I thought that neutron stars and back holes were mutually exclusive alternative fates for a post-supernova star, depending on its mass. But I'm open to correction about this.
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  14. #13  
    Goddess of Eternity rmbettencourt's Avatar
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    Well from what I recall is that not all neutron stars "become" a black hole. The star would have to be 1/3 the mass of the sun to become a black hole (I too am open to correction about this). I will have to review all the information again, haha.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmbettencourt View Post
    Well from what I recall is that not all neutron stars "become" a black hole. The star would have to be 1/3 the mass of the sun to become a black hole (I too am open to correction about this). I will have to review all the information again, haha.
    I've looked this up on Wiki. Try the section of this article titled Core Collapse: Supernova - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Seems I was a bit wrong. Some supernovae form a neutron star that is stable, others form a black hole directly but (and this is the part I did not realise was possible) an intermediate group form a neutron star that becomes unstable and subsequently forms a black hole. So there we are.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rmbettencourt View Post
    Well from what I recall is that not all neutron stars "become" a black hole. The star would have to be 1/3 the mass of the sun to become a black hole (I too am open to correction about this). I will have to review all the information again, haha.
    I've looked this up on Wiki. Try the section of this article titled Core Collapse: Supernova - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Seems I was a bit wrong. Some supernovae form a neutron star that is stable, others form a black hole directly but (and this is the part I did not realise was possible) an intermediate group form a neutron star that becomes unstable and subsequently forms a black hole. So there we are.
    I've never heard of a single case where a neutron star became unstable and collapsed into a black hole. But I have heard of speculation that there might be something called a quark star, which would be about as close as you can get to a black hole without actually being one. Also, there is speculation that some neutron stars that are close to there mass limit, actually deform the neutrons into cubes so they can pack into a tighter mass. Whether either of these conditions can exist in nature we may never know.

    https://answers.yahoo.com/question/i...0122901AA0MMYy

    If the neutron star is part of a binary system and is stealing mass from the other star. Sooner or later it will go over the mass limit for neutron stars and could then collapse into a black hole.

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  17. #16  
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    Black holes are a different type of fish and I thought the OP was about crushing atoms and the idea that an electron could fuse with a proton and become a neutron.
    Electron proton fusion does not seem to be a way that neutrons are made to any extent although in some cases beta absorbtion does happen through a quantum tunneling effect.
    In stars of similar mass to our sun the primary form of neutron formation is through proton-proton fusion. Hydrogen becomes deuterium, then helium.

    In more massive stars there is a different sequence, the carbon nitrogen oxygen cycle.

    Stellar nucleosynthesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    CNO cycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    When atoms are crushed you get degenerate matter. Degenerate matter like neutronium would be is not atomic matter.
    Degenerate matter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by dan hunter; May 2nd, 2014 at 12:20 PM.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    I've never heard of a single case where a neutron star became unstable and collapsed into a black hole.
    I may have misread the Wiki para I suppose. Would you mind reading it and telling me what it means? There are two combinations of ranges of mass, composition and supernova type listed in the table that are said to from a black hole after an initial neutron star. Does it mean that there is a core collapse to a neutron star, followed by an almost immediate explosion that creates a black hole, or something like that?
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    But I have heard of speculation that there might be something called a quark star, which would be about as close as you can get to a black hole without actually being one.
    Whether either of these conditions can exist in nature we may never know.
    I think I know what you mean there. The idea of the energy levels to make quarks into degenerate matter is beyond what I can imagine.
    Quarkonium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by dan hunter; May 2nd, 2014 at 12:20 PM.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    I've never heard of a single case where a neutron star became unstable and collapsed into a black hole.
    I may have misread the Wiki para I suppose. Would you mind reading it and telling me what it means? There are two combinations of ranges of mass, composition and supernova type listed in the table that are said to from a black hole after an initial neutron star. Does it mean that there is a core collapse to a neutron star, followed by an almost immediate explosion that creates a black hole, or something like that?
    When it comes to forming black hole the only thing that matters is the amount of mass being compressed. There is a specific mass limit on how large a neutron star might be. The only way it could collapse into a black hole is if it acquires enough mass to take it over the limit.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    But I have heard of speculation that there might be something called a quark star, which would be about as close as you can get to a black hole without actually being one.
    Whether either of these conditions can exist in nature we may never know.
    I think I know what you mean there. The idea of the energy levels to make quarks into degenerate matter is beyond what I can imagine.
    Quarkonium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I like the following description better.

    Quark
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rmbettencourt View Post
    Well from what I recall is that not all neutron stars "become" a black hole. The star would have to be 1/3 the mass of the sun to become a black hole (I too am open to correction about this). I will have to review all the information again, haha.
    I've looked this up on Wiki. Try the section of this article titled Core Collapse: Supernova - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Seems I was a bit wrong. Some supernovae form a neutron star that is stable, others form a black hole directly but (and this is the part I did not realise was possible) an intermediate group form a neutron star that becomes unstable and subsequently forms a black hole. So there we are.
    I've never heard of a single case where a neutron star became unstable and collapsed into a black hole. But I have heard of speculation that there might be something called a quark star, which would be about as close as you can get to a black hole without actually being one. Also, there is speculation that some neutron stars that are close to there mass limit, actually deform the neutrons into cubes so they can pack into a tighter mass. Whether either of these conditions can exist in nature we may never know.

    https://answers.yahoo.com/question/i...0122901AA0MMYy

    If the neutron star is part of a binary system and is stealing mass from the other star. Sooner or later it will go over the mass limit for neutron stars and could then collapse into a black hole.

    Black Holes, Black Holes Information, Facts, News, Photos -- National Geographic

    While most stars end up as white dwarfs or neutron stars, black holes are the last evolutionary stage in the lifetimes of enormous stars that had been at least 10 or 15 times as massive as our own sun.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmbettencourt View Post
    Black Holes, Black Holes Information, Facts, News, Photos -- National Geographic

    While most stars end up as white dwarfs or neutron stars, black holes are the last evolutionary stage in the lifetimes of enormous stars that had been at least 10 or 15 times as massive as our own sun.
    To me those in between size black holes, bigger than stellar and smaller than supermassive are proof that black holes can and do grow over time. I have a theory that not very many others agree with, so I rarely talk about it. Once a black hole is created even the smaller stellar ones. They will have a life cycle that will last much longer than all the stars now in existence or ever will be in existence in this universe. I think black holes were in existence before the so called big bang. What does a universe really do besides making galaxies and stars? It makes lots of new black holes. You might even want to call it a black hole nursery.

    From our point of view here on Earth we will probably never know what's outside our current universe. So I can only construct what I think could have happened. They have discovered black holes the size of 20 billion solar masses that were that big within 2 billion years of the so called big bang. No one has been able to offer a credible theory about how any black holes could possibly grow that big in so short of time after the big bang. I say they are proof that black holes were in existence before the big bang. But that's only my opinion, and talking about it should be in a thread of it's own.
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  24. #23  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Psychologically.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    Psychologically.
    Laugh out loud.
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  26. #25  
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    you never crushed a tomato?
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clair D. View Post
    you never crushed a tomato?
    Well, you're clearly going to be a great asset to this forum.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clair D. View Post
    you never crushed a tomato?
    No, but I've smashed them. A big difference.
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  29. #28  
    Forum Freshman The Huntsman's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replys.

    If you were to crush all the matter into the universe into neutrons, is that how we know that when the universe started it was the size of a pinhead?
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Huntsman View Post
    Thanks for all the reply's.

    If you were to crush all the matter into the universe into neutrons, is that how we know that when the universe started it was the size of a pinhead?
    That much matter couldn't be crushed into neutrons. Past a given amount of mass neutrons crush into black hole mass (not neutrons anymore). As far as the size of the universe before it expanded, nobody really knows what it was so they can say anything no proof offered, except to say it was mathematically possible.
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