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Talk:Matter-antimatter reaction

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While apparently well written, there is no citation to support the following:

This reaction frees energy the same way as nuclear fusion or nuclear fission, by creating a "mass defect", which means the mass of the initial products of the reaction exceeds those of the resulting products. This "lost mass" is transformed into kinetic and heat energy, according to Einstein's formula E=mc².
Fusion reactions usually have a mass defect of less than 1%, whereas the matter-antimatter reaction transforms almost 100% of the mass of the initial products into energy.
The reaction of deuterium with antideuterium creates enough energy to power faster-than-light propulsion for starships, the warp drive.
A matter/antimatter reaction at a subatomic particle level generally results in the annihilation of both particles if opposite properties (such as charge) exist between them. For example, when an electron and a positron collide they convert their mass into energy in the form of gamma radiation. Different subatomic collisions, such as protons and antiprotons, can result in the creation of both gamma radiation and additional subatomic particles. That which is not consumed by the collisions remains as antimatter waste. Mutual annihilation is the most familiar result, though, and is used as the power basis for antimatter reactors.
Variants of subatomic particles (e.g., antigravitons, antithorons, antiquarks) that do not have the appropriate opposite properties (e.g., charges) do not convert their mass into energy upon colliding with their counterparts. They interact pursuant to other physical laws in ways that do not result in mutual annihilation. Quarks and antiquarks, for example, combine to form a meson.
A matter/antimatter reaction between collections of matter which are identical at a macro level in two parallel universes can have the most damaging effects of all, however. For example, and depending upon the properties of the two universes, 23rd century Federation science theorized that contact between identical versions of an individual person could spontaneously cascade into the total annihilation of all matter and antimatter in both universes. While it was experientially proven that subatomic similarity (say, two electrons) would not start the cascade, or even result in mutual annihilation, the theory held that collision between macro amounts of matter in the same general form will start the cascade. The amount of matter and antimatter needed to begin the universe-level annihilation, and the degree of similarity required at the macro level, was not known at that time.
This last type is the type of "antimatter" described in TOS: "The Alternative Factor".

I've added a few citable "facts" to preserve the article's existance. --Alan del Beccio 19:07, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Matter/Antimatter annihilation / chain rxnsEdit

What would happen if a matter/antimatter explosion occurred near other warp starships? Would it cause a chain reaction, and if so, would the power be exponentially released?

Would it be enough power to virtually destroy a planet?

Just planning my weekend. --Atlas

May I recommend system 47-Foxtrot? That planet has been blocking my telescoping of another planet for ages! :P Seriously though, it all depends on the amount of starships and the amount of matter/antimatter. As seen in various Trek episodes, auto-destruct doesn't affect a huge area. It would take a GREAT amount of starships to be able to destroy a planet. - Adm. Enzo Aquarius...I'm listening 18:45, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Explosions aren't generally enough to destroy, much less chain-react, nearby warp ships. Ship explosions happen in crowded environments all the time, presumably with the unfortunate ship's warp core being breached. Just because matter-antimatter might be the source of a particular explosion, it doesn't seem to me to be a risk for spontaneous core-breaching on nearby ships that might have survived a ship exploding from some other initial cause. Anyway, have a good weekend and just don't destroy any pre-warp planets - that would be contrary to the Prime Directive I think. TribbleFurSuit 23:54, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Watch battle scenes in the Dominion War, particularly close combat scenes like in Operation Return. No chain reactions. In addition, if there were such a chain reaction, the energy release increase would be linear, not exponential.
E=m c^2 Is a linear equation. "c" is a constant, so c2 is still a constant. The only thing changing in a case of multiple ships exploding is "m", mass. If I have one ship explode, it will have one energy release. If I have 2 ships explode of equal mass, the energy release will be exactly double the first. Three ships, triple the first, etc. It is a linear effect. --OuroborosCobra talk 04:09, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, the same is true in other kinds of chain reactions - fission, fusion, etc. involve particles with finite and constant yields. But I think Atlas was describing runaway chain reactions which ARE exponential, to extend the nuclear analogy: No single ship yields more destructive energy than any other, but the chain reaction means that the number of ships involved increases exponentially. One ship might destroy two others, each of those two destroys two more, etc. By the 10th round of this reaction, >2000 ships would have been destroyed, assuming they were massed together in a go-critical amount of space in the first place. However we all seem to agree that it just don't work this way, as apparent onscreen. TribbleFurSuit 00:55, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Enzo Aquarius, 47-Foxtrot is added to my long list!

Apologies if I've mis-posted. It's true I ask the question of chain reactions not regarding the science itself but the qualitative effects of such an occurrence in say, a working Fleet Yard full of half-built unshielded ships and unprotected engines. But even then it sounds like damage would be basically ballistic materials and nothing so exotic as a compounding rupture in the fabric of subspace. Darn it.

Thanks everyone for your lucid explanations. --Atlas

Where's it all happen? Edit

The article says the reaction takes place in the intermix chamber... but wouldn't it take place in the matter-antimatter reaction assembly? Or am I missing something? --From Andoria with Love 17:29, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps the intermix chamber is a single component of a larger matter-antimatter reaction assembly? --OuroborosCobra talk 18:09, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

No clue; it's certainly possible. I can't find any canon reference to exactly what an intermix chamber does, though. :/ --From Andoria with Love 18:48, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

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