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Name: Georgie M.
Status: student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Thursday, August 22, 2002


Question:
Can neutrons be accelerated using some devices?


Replies:
Georgie,

It is not easy to accelerate a neutron. Neutrons have no electric charge. Of the "long-distance" forces, electromagnetic force is the strongest. Electric and magnetic forces can be used to accelerate and steer protons and electrons quite well. The electric force has no effect on the neutron. All the magnetic force can do to a neutron is rotate it, kind of like a magnet rotating a compass.

You can accelerate a neutron by crashing other particles into it. Unfortunately, this often has undesirable effects. One of the most common is causing the neutron to change into a proton, an electron, and a neutrino. Whenever a neutron gets some extra energy from a collision, this decay is possible. When compared to protons and electrons, neutrons are very short-range, non-interactive particles.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Instructor
Illinois Central College



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