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View Diary: New Nukes: Obama will name Steven Chu his choice for Energy secretary (124 comments)

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  •  There are several possibilities (0+ / 0-)

    This was researched well over 30 years ago. The stuff that I remember seeing called for "burning off" the graphite of the pebble, then mechanically crushing the silicon carbide layer of the particles to release the kernel. (I remember seeing photographs of such crushed particles.) Other methods have been proposed, though.

    Rod has probably read more on this than me, and could explain further.

    Note that, although I have discussed at great length in the comments here about how difficult it is to ignite very pure graphite, it can be done in a special environment. Obviously, the "burn off" mentioned above would occur under such special conditions. In addition, perhaps the surface of the pebble could be pretreated somehow to increase the surface area, and thus, make it easier to ignite.

    An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
    -- H. L. Mencken

    by bryfry on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 10:23:16 AM PST

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