Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can cosmic radiation (alpha radiation) transmute the material of a space craft, particular carbon, titanium and aluminum?

Where can i find transmutation tables or formulas to calculate the possibility of a transmutation and the outcome?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

Happens all the time. Low background neutrino detectors have to contend with the products: short lived, light isotopes that are created in after cosmic rays knock some neutrons loose from other material (neutron spallation).

See (to chose an example I'm an author on) DOI 10.1103/PhysRevC.81.025807 (also at arXiv:0907.0066). You can also find simlar papers for other low background detectors.

There is not, however, anything like a table for human consumption. The size of the data set is prohibitively large. It is available in a form for computer consumption as Evaluated Nuclear Data Files plus the cosmic ray spectrum (which I don't have a link for off hand). If you are interested in what happens after the cosmic ray showers you'll need a full Monte Carlo: CRY or something equivalent.


Mind you, when I say "happens all the time" I am talking about a small number of atoms per second in any reasonable volume of matter, which means that you basically can't notice it without building a sizable low background detector because of the pure number or atoms in any given macroscopic sample of mass.

Remember class, Avogodro's number is very, very big indeed.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.