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If electrical, and economic limitations are ignored, would it be possible for a civilization to mass produce many millions of tonnes of useful heavy elements using particle accelerators?

  1. Could they use protons, or hydrogen/helium in a super collider to work their way up the fusion chain to any desired element, or would they have to use heavier nuclei to begin with?
  2. Once the new, heavier element is created it will be a positively charged ion (lacking electrons) how can we add electrons to make the element charge neutral?
  3. How would the material be extracted from the collider, to be used, and free up the collider to continue making more?
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  • $\begingroup$ For question 2, the answer is easy; just put the atoms in contact with some ground wire, or some other source of electrons. The atoms will have an extremely high positive charge, so electrons will naturally be attracted to them. $\endgroup$ Jun 15 '20 at 13:17
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civilization to mass produce many millions of tonnes of useful heavy elements using particle accelerators

It is theoretically possible. We've been creating heavier elements in accelerators for a long time now. For instance, the very heaviest elements like 117, are created an atom at a time in accelerators.

The problem is the efficiency of the process scales with the mass of the resulting object, so to make heavy elements you might get one atom per buzzilion reactions. Each of those potential reactions takes the same amount of energy, so you spend a LOT of energy to get something back. In the case of 117, for instance, they got a couple of atoms after running for weeks or months.

So while theoretically possible, we can also say that it would never actually be useful.

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