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Old 22-01-2008, 20:47   #525
Xaccers
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Milling around Milton Keynes
Age: 44
Posts: 12,969
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Re: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and other Snippets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alien View Post
I know that's how motors work, but what I'm saying is that the whole concept of turbine blades in a vacuum is silly. You could draw the hydrogen atoms in without any moving parts, using energy to rotate the turbine blades would be pointless. Sure, they might hit & deflect the trajectory of the occasional atom, but otherwise they'll be just a waste of space, materials, & energy.

Think of it like this: aircraft that use propellers can only work up to a certain altitude [I don't happen to know what it is off the top of my head], because the air is just too thin. Yet even at those high altitudes the air is orders of magnitude more dense than the distribution of hydrogen atoms in space.
You're thinking about it the wrong way round.
The turbines (which they aren't, and in the picture they don't even look like they move, but I'll humour you ) don't spin and suck in hydrogen, they are spun by the protons (hydrogen ions) being drawn in through the magnetic field, just as a motor spins when electrons are passed through a magnetic field.

Think of an electrical circuit with a lightbulb and a motor in series.
In order for the lightbulb to turn on, current must first pass through the motor, which causes it to spin.
The motor spinning doesn't cause the light bulb to light up, it's a byproduct of the current moving through a magnetic field on the way to power the bulb.
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