I know it's a stupid question... but when I tear a paper i may coincidentally split it and create nuclear fission.

When i tried experimenting, by tearing the paper for HELLKNOWS how many times, I didn't see any changes apart from torn papers but when I actually think of it the whole paper consists of an atom, and the chances of tearing the nucleus is so freaking high that every time i tear a paper I probably be creating nuclear fission.

Maybe what my question is, does tearing a paper produces energy? But i still want to know if it really IS nuclear fission.

NOTE: I don't have much knowledge about physics and I learn it by observing.

  • $\begingroup$ No, you can not create fission or any kind of nuclear reaction with the direct mechanical action of tearing. When you are tearing a piece of paper, all you are doing is to separate electrostatic bonds between fibers and you can possibly break a few chemical bonds. The energy for these processes is thousands of times smaller than that required to start nuclear reactions. What you may be able to do is to cause high voltages in the material, which could accelerate electrons, which in rare causes could cause nuclear reactions, but even that is a questionable process. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Sep 8 '15 at 5:31
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    $\begingroup$ This site is for questions that are related to physics as we know it. This implies an elementary knowledge of the physics background of the question, which you do not seem to have . You cannot learn the physics of the atoms and nuclei by observing at home. You have to take courses. $\endgroup$ – anna v Sep 8 '15 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ @annav What are you talking about? I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything about observing in my house or anything, oh yeah one more thing... You're implying that I don't have any ELEMENTARY KNOWLEDGE of physics, which is not true, how would i even know nuclear fission and other terms without stock knowledge from school? $\endgroup$ – 4444 Sep 8 '15 at 5:43
  • $\begingroup$ Attributed to different sources: Everyone is ignorant, just on different subjects. Yeah, this question is ridiculous, but at least the OP is willing to learn. $\endgroup$ – BillDOe Sep 8 '15 at 5:43
  • $\begingroup$ I would give the OP some slack, this kind of misconception has been around for literally thousands of years (I think I read the Greeks pulled this on Democritus) and has a lot of naive appeal. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Sep 8 '15 at 5:50

Not even remotely possible. You would have to overcome the Strong Nuclear Force to rip a nucleus apart, and that is the strongest of all the fundamental forces. Here's a graphic from this site:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ My prime question is unanswered, does ripping a paper produces energy? EDIT: I'm sorry that sounded dumb of course it produces KE. $\endgroup$ – 4444 Sep 8 '15 at 5:45
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. For example, it makes a sound. Sound waves have energy. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Sep 8 '15 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ Well, your question dealt primarily with whether or not you could rip a nucleus apart (at least that was my interpretation), and I thought I answered that. But other than the energy you supplied to tear said paper, doing so cannot produce any energy, other than some remotely possible static electricity as @CuriousOne pointed out. $\endgroup$ – BillDOe Sep 8 '15 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ As @KevinZhou pointed out, there will be some sound energy created, but you supplied that energy, not the paper. $\endgroup$ – BillDOe Sep 8 '15 at 5:52
  • $\begingroup$ Anyways is it possible using modern tools? $\endgroup$ – 4444 Sep 8 '15 at 6:01

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