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we maybe barking up the wrong tree all together

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:15 pm
by ohiovr
Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to figure out TGFs (terrestrial gamma ray flashes) which seem to be explicitly linked to thunderstorms and lightning. Several news articles have reported saying that positrons, neutrons, and gamma rays have been detected during lightning strikes. Every one of those phenomena requires nuclear level interactions. I don't rule out the possibility that this could simply be electronic interference in the sensor equipment (perhaps EM spikes can trigger the equipment in the same way that the intended detection particles do). No one mentioned that, however.

There is an extremely large energy release from lightning strikes and it happens on time scales of microseconds. This is similar, but not quite as fast, as some fusion experiments involving pulses of energy. I was going down the possibility that there is indeed fusion reactions happening here, though most scientists say this is unlikely because the temperatures reached are several orders of magnitude lower than what is commonly associated with fusion events.

The other thing to consider is that positrons are never associated with fusion of the most likely kinds of light nuclei including hydrogen, deuterium, tritium, helium, lithium, and boron. It seems clear to me that the observed gamma rays are coming from positron-electron annihilation but this interjects more questions than answers. Where did they come from??

Positron emission isn't really that rare and it even used in medicine. But typically in these situations, it is related to natural radioisotope decay. The usual suspects include carbon-11, potassium-40, nitrogen-13, oxygen-15, aluminium-26, sodium-22, fluorine-18, and iodine-121. Three of those elements are present commonly in the atmosphere.

In all of these cases, decay into positrons, and neutrinos are controlled by the weak nuclear force. The rate of decay or half-life product generation is commonly assumed to be constant but I've seen articles that suggest that it isn't.

If the weak nuclear force is NOT constant this has vast implications for technology that could be far more important than fusion technology will ever be. The question is, of course, can it be controlled, triggered, or manipulated. lightning is an electric phenomenon typically over a hundred million volts to more than a billion volts for Positive lighting. Positive lightning is about one hundredth as common as negative lightning. If a billion volts is required to accelerate weak force moderated decay it might never have any technological applications. But if it isn't it could open the door to all kinds of human mischief including power production.

Concerning TGF I am interested in a theory that fits the facts. So far I've seen nothing that does. What do you think is really going on? :?:

Re: we maybe barking up the wrong tree all together

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:45 am
by D Tibbets
High energy events in Earths atmosphere occur all the time. Some of it is just the very high energy tails of thermalized gas interactions. Much of it is various magnetic formations that may accelerate a small amount of ionized gas to high speeds- Auroras, and thunderstorm sprites may be examples of this. Associated with the aroras at least, much of the energy may come from the inherent KE of the Solar Wind. And, a lot of the measured nuclear events in the atmosphere may be derived from cosmic rays. Muon production and decay is prevalent and even play a significant role in the plasma lighting seen in common fluoresecnt lights. Radioactive decay is also prevalent, though I would not see them playing a role in various bursts of activity. There are a lot of ways to generate high energy particles, including light particles- x-rays or gamma rays.

I have not seen any good examples where this produces more tan trivial amounts of energy. There is a Solar plasma (corona) sourced nuclear fusion school of thought. The physics- magnetic heating , etc. is not fully understood, but easily falls inside acceptable physics. O course there is hydrogen fusion in the Solar corona- especially if there is some deuterium in the primordial gas remaining. But from a quantitative stand point it is completely irrelevant. In the rarefied Solar corona gas- or the sprite example above thunderstorms, the amount of fusion, while possibly measurable, is extremely, extremely, extremely rare compared to the fusion rates in very dense gas and/ or very hot gasses like a stellar core or a reasonable reactor core. There are even some geological formations where uranium fission may have been accelerated- low criticality(?) because of the concentrations of Ur235 that may have accumulated several billions of years ago when the isotope was more prevalent. Again, this is a reasonable consequence of accepted physics.

About a decade ago there was some publicity for manipulating the natural decay halflifes of some radioactive iotope isomers. Somehow adjusting the energy output rate. This would not be an energy source- as the isotopes were primarily man made in nuclear reactors. They might have made for some impressive nuclear batteries or bombs though. Since then this popular pass time has faded as there was no credible evidence (at least in the open sources) for manipulating the physics necessary for this to occur (ie: changing the weak force characteristics).

If you take some deuterium gas and place it in a bottle and maintain it at room temperature and you watched it long enough, you would have D-D fusions occurring. You might have to wait a 100 billion years to cathg one fusion event but they would occur. The statistics - fusion cross section curves, Maxwellion energy distribution characteristics in a given average temperature gas (or solid) predicts this.

The most important thing to consider for any possible scheme is if it allows for our existence. Some of these permutations are easily allowable if they have truely trivial effects on nature. But if they are significant enough to produce qualitative effects that changes our world, then you must pass the test of our existence. If something is real but produces such a trivial effect on us, the exploitation of such an effect is much less likely to achieve significant results- production of useful energy, etc. in quantities that are meaningful.

An example of a perfectly acceptable effect is Muon catalyzed fusion. It can easily and reasonably occur, but the minute quantity of available Muons and their short half life makes the utilization of this effect extremely difficult. Another example may be neutron activation of various isotopes. You need a source of free neutrons for this to proceed. This is not available in most of nature. But there are some advanced fission reactor designs that may actually utilize this effect to greatly change the fission power plant possibilities.

Dan Tibbets

Re: we maybe barking up the wrong tree all together

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:43 pm
by krenshala
Red sprites, based on where they occur, were the first thing I thought of when looking up info on TGFs.

Re: we maybe barking up the wrong tree all together

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:18 pm
by ohiovr
The wiki says that the current theory about TGFs is that the lightning accelerates electrons into the upper atmosphere at relativistic speeds. When these relativistic electrons collide with heavy nuclei they spall off neutrons and other heavy particles. They didn't make the connection but this is the same technique used in particle beam subcritical fission assemblies. Usually, the tech behind that is based on proton beams but perhaps it would be possible to acomplish the same thing with electron beams.