Quark fusion is ten times stronger than nuclear fusion… theoretically. Could it actually work?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018

The particles that make up the neutrons and protons inside of atoms are known as quarks. And researchers found that when quarks bind together, energy is produced. Scientists have already been smashing together particles at the Large Hadron Collider but that’s been with hydrogen atoms, not quarks.

At the Large Hadron Collider, particles are zooming through a a 27 km long ring at near the speed of light. When particles collide scientists are poised to collect lots of data. And sometimes in the data strange particles will emerge. It was completely unexpected. And this precisely what happened when what’s known as a “doubly charmed baryon” emerged in 2016. It was made of two charm quarks and an up quark. 

The news of the new particle led other researcher to drawing calculations of just how much energy would be needed to fuse these quarks together — and how much energy would be released. They found, it would take about 130 MeV to fuse the collision of the charm quarks. More researchers theorized that if they fused a different type of quark — a heavier bottom quark — it may produce around 138 MeV, which is about 8 times more energy than fusing hydrogen (aka what powers hydrogen bombs).That is a lot of energy.

We shouldn't worry about bombs, though, because the scientists say these types of quarks won’t live long enough after a collision for a chain reaction to happen. In other words, they decay too quickly and won’t be usable for weapons. Scientists do, however, say it’s technically possible to create this fusion with the Large Hadron Collider and there may be a good chance that in the next couple of years this study will go into action.  

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