Bubble, bubble, boil and trouble.....
March 15, 2005 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Recent bubbles offer first confirmed desktop plasma generation through sonoluminesence. You remember sonoluminesence right? Responsible for brilliant shrimp, and skinny people...
posted by johnjoe (12 comments total)
Ok, so readin ghte article, it states that the bubbles reached a temperature of 15,000 C°, hotter that most stars. So why didn't the lab explode? My understanding of the laws of thermal dynamics is limited to what I was awake for in 2nd year physics, but last I checked, when you heat something up that much, that rapidly, you end up with energy being expended in some manner, usually in the form of a gas expanding. Are they saying that it all got converted to light and just flashed breifly with no sudden expanse of the liquid or gas? Generally, you heat up something, and it will expand. I'm just saying. Some more up on the whole deal got something for me to smack my forehead with?
posted by daq at 12:43 PM on March 15, 2005

The bubbles are very hot, but also very, very small.
posted by blue mustard at 12:46 PM on March 15, 2005

Very, very small.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:50 PM on March 15, 2005

posted by freebird at 1:02 PM on March 15, 2005

First link seems to be broken.........
posted by krash2fast at 1:46 PM on March 15, 2005

My summary and thoughts on a previous post on the Oak Ridge results.
posted by fatllama at 2:27 PM on March 15, 2005

daq, the liquid is actually chilled to very near freezing. The bubbles are far from thermal equilibrium, so the high temperatures only exist in tiny places for billionths of a second. You have the cause/effect relationship here backwards: the heat is generated by compressing the bubbles with sound waves. The flashes of light account for a small portion of the energy involved, but are nearly coincident with the acoustic collapse.

In principle, one extracts energy from this system not by directly tapping the heat from the bubbles but fromhot neutrons and fusion by-products that might result at those high temperatures.
posted by fatllama at 2:34 PM on March 15, 2005

The first link still works for me, but, for those interested, another good description of the results
is available at sciencenews.

Oh, and apologies for the misspellings in the original post, it's sonoluminescence, not sonoluminesence.

I recognize this is a bit sciencenewsfilterish, but how cool is plasma generated from sonic resonance?
While not as wow-factor as the somewhat controversial Taleyarkhan papers claiming observation of fusion (cf. the post fatllama links to) the clear signal of ionization is significant in its own right. It's nice that it also offers some cheer to the sonolumi fusion hopefuls.
posted by johnjoe at 3:11 PM on March 15, 2005

Yes, I agree that this is very cool.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 3:34 PM on March 15, 2005

It's so cool....
....it's HELLA COOL!!!
posted by The Infamous Jay at 4:39 PM on March 15, 2005

I don't mean to burst your bubble, but...

This is incredibly cool (hot)!! I've always been fascinated by supercavitation (think superfast - 200+mph torpedoes), but never considered cavitation by other than purely mechanical means.

Super duper neato!
posted by zerokey at 5:14 PM on March 15, 2005

Yeah, bubble fusion. To me this seems like the path we should be going down towards getting fusion working as a power source. Not these googol-billion dollar tokamaks with frikkin' laser beams. I want my Mr. Fusion.
posted by todbot at 1:19 AM on March 18, 2005

« Older Burnt Offerings   |   mayor curley is the milkman of human kindness for... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments