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Earth's core consisting of hydrogen


Thot
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I've come across an interesting hypothesis regarding the earth's composition, specifically that it's core does not consist of iron, but of hydrogen and is not hot, but cold. Unlike hypothesis like hollow earth, this one seems to fit with known facts like the earth's magnetic field (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallic_hydrogen).

 

Sadly, I've only been able to find one author that has written specifically about the subject (he's called Neil B. Christianson).

Does anyone know of other works regarding the subject than his?

Some stuff that he has written about this hypothesis can be found at the bottom of http://www.cthisspace.com/ftl/features.html.

He states that the heat coming from the inner parts of the earth could be explained with radioactivity alone, though whether this is accurate I don't know.

 

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole drilling deep into the earth's crust seems to lead to the effusion of hydrogen, though I've read other explanations for it's origin. It'll be interesting to see what http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chikyu_Hakken will find, as they're going still deeper.

 

What do you think about this?

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the pressures aren't big enough for metallic hydrogen to exist at those temperatures.

 

you would also have a severe deficit of mass for the earth as well.

 

then you need to explain how the hydrogen got down there when all other minerals exhibit stratification due to different densities.(heavy stuff sinks, light stuff floats.)

 

iron is much simpler and conforms to seismic data.

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the pressures aren't big enough for metallic hydrogen to exist at those temperatures.

Which temperatures?

 

then you need to explain how the hydrogen got down there when all other minerals exhibit stratification due to different densities.(heavy stuff sinks, light stuff floats.)

Rotation, for one. Think of the earth as a centrifuge and then consider that it most likely spun faster in earlier times as it slowed down over time to the speed it now has.

 

As for the rest, I'll do some further reading. I suggest you do the same, though. Reading the articles I've linked to, that is.

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Which temperatures?

 

the temperature of the earths core, roughly 5000*C. the higher the temperature, the more pressure needed to sustain metallic hydrogen.

 

Rotation, for one. Think of the earth as a centrifuge and then consider that it most likely spun faster in earlier times as it slowed down over time to the speed it now has.

 

gravitational force would have overcome the centrifuge effect. otherwise the earth would have destroyed itself literally by throwing itself appart.

 

As for the rest, I'll do some further reading. I suggest you do the same, though. Reading the articles I've linked to, that is.

 

yes, please do some further reading.

 

[EDIT] just another bit here while i was thinking. if the earth were somehow acting as a centrifuge(which is impossible) the pressure at the core would be a whole lot lower, depending on conditions, possibly even zero. this would cause the hydrogen to remain gaseous. and as the earth is slowing down(which it would do gradually) the solid matter would fall through the hydrogen to the centerand the hydrogen would be forced outwards where it would escape into space. again leading to what we have observed with seismic data. heavier stuff in the center and lighter stuff on the outside.

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the temperature of the earths core, roughly 5000*C. the higher the temperature, the more pressure needed to sustain metallic hydrogen.

Which is why I said to read the articles first. According to the hypothesis, the earth's core has a temperature below zero. Close to absolute zero, actually.

 

just another bit here while i was thinking.[...]

It's quite possible for it to act as a centrifuge only inside the system.

The gravitational force could keep the whole thing together, while the centrifugal effect would result in said shift on the inside.

And the solids could only pass through the hydrogen once it is in gaseous form. The gravitational center (and therefore also the point with the highest pressure, as well as it's amount) is the same as long as the distribution on the circumference is, the radius does not matter.

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Which is why I said to read the articles first. According to the hypothesis, the earth's core has a temperature below zero. Close to absolute zero, actually.

 

so where does the heat that forms magma and lava come from.

 

even if this is produced in the mantle the heat would transfer to the core. unless there was some sort of magical infinite heatsink at the core?

 

It's quite possible for it to act as a centrifuge only inside the system.

The gravitational force could keep the whole thing together, while the centrifugal effect would result in said shift on the inside.

And the solids could only pass through the hydrogen once it is in gaseous form. The gravitational center (and therefore also the point with the highest pressure, as well as it's amount) is the same as long as the distribution on the circumference is, the radius does not matter.

 

uhh, no. the centrifuge effect will counteract gravity. for there to be inverse stratification the effect has to supecede gravitational attraction roughly on the same order as g. meaning, its going to fly appart unless you have it zipped up inside a rigid bubble.

 

think about what you are saying, please, it'll help keep things scientific.

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so where does the heat that forms magma and lava come from.

 

even if this is produced in the mantle the heat would transfer to the core. unless there was some sort of magical infinite heatsink at the core?

Please read the articles, that's answered there. There's no point in me restating bit by bit what has already been written.

 

uhh, no. the centrifuge effect will counteract gravity. for there to be inverse stratification the effect has to supecede gravitational attraction roughly on the same order as g. meaning, its going to fly appart unless you have it zipped up inside a rigid bubble.

That rigid bubble -is- gravity. You're thinking too static there. Neither the gravitational nor the centrifugal force are the same on all points on the radius.

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Please read the articles, that's answered there. There's no point in me restating bit by bit what has already been written.

 

i have read the wikipedia links, i have not read the cthisspace links as i could not find anything remotely realting to the discussion.

 

That rigid bubble -is- gravity. You're thinking too static there. Neither the gravitational nor the centrifugal force are the same on all points on the radius.

 

yes, i know, gravitational force decreases with radius(makes it easier to chuck bits of the earth away) and the centrifugal effect increases with increased radius(making it easier to chuck bits away). i don't see how this supports you. could you provide some of the mathematics behind this, maybe you are trying to explain it in a way i can't comprehend. i understand the mathematics behind both gravitational attraction and the centrifuge effect, that would leave me in absolutely no doubt. feel free to apply relativistic maths to this if you need to, i am some what well versed in those as well.

 

Also, you still haven't explained your claim that the earths core is near absolute zero in temperature.

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i have read the wikipedia links, i have not read the cthisspace links as i could not find anything remotely realting to the discussion.

Stuff's at the bottom of the page. The articles are dubbed 'cookbook cosmology'.

 

yes, i know, gravitational force decreases with radius(makes it easier to chuck bits of the earth away) and the centrifugal effect increases with increased radius(making it easier to chuck bits away). i don't see how this supports you. could you provide some of the mathematics behind this, maybe you are trying to explain it in a way i can't comprehend. i understand the mathematics behind both gravitational attraction and the centrifuge effect, that would leave me in absolutely no doubt. feel free to apply relativistic maths to this if you need to, i am some what well versed in those as well.

Ok. You've got two systems you need to consider here, one being the earth as a whole - which's radius is kept constant by the gravitational and centrifugal force -, the other are the particles in relation to each other. For the gravitational center, only the first system is relevant. For the centrifuge effect, you need to look at the latter.

Say you've got a spinning mass with roughly evenly distributed amounts of - for the sake of easiness just - hydrogen and iron. The whole mass is kept together and over time shaped into a sphere by the gravitational force. The centrifugal force slowly pushes the iron towards the outside, where it's concentration therefore rises. After some time, the inside consists mostly of hydrogen and the outside of iron. Now, since iron molecules are much heavier than hydrogen ones, the gravitational force between the molecules in a given area rises with the concentration of iron. In flat view, you could imagine the iron as a chain around the hydrogen. This chain keeps itself together through the gravitational force. For this, a sufficient concentration of iron is necessary, hence the chain expands away from the center for as long as the concentration is reached through the centrifuge effect - in other words, until the chain gets strong enough. Once the necessary concentration is reached, you have an equilibrium.

As the earth's spin decreases, the centrifuge effect decreases as well and slowly hydrogen on the outermost parts begins to permeate through the iron chain.

 

Also, you still haven't explained your claim that the earths core is near absolute zero in temperature.

Arti... ah well. Ok, suppose the whole mass is at first (quite) cold. You get heat from two sources here, radioactive decay and sunlight. The radioactive materials that we have here in relevant amounts are (mostly) quite heavy, for which reason they'll get pushed to outside by the centrifuge effect just like the iron. Sunlight only heats up the surface, as well.

From there, let's jump to the point where the equilibrium is already established. The radioactive decay heats both the outer and inner parts. On heating, part of the hydrogen liquidi- and gasifies and the pressure rises until at one point hydrogen starts to permeate through the iron. To be more precise, it'll rupture a passage through it. The effusion of hot hydrogen causes both the pressure and the temperature to fall again, until the radioactive decay has again generated enough heat to trigger another effusion. This explains the origin of volcanoes, as well. They're simply 'iron' pushed outwards by the stream of gas.

 

€: I am aware that it's quite possible for the hypothesis to be ****ed by actual mathematics, though. Whether or not it works with the given amounts of stuff - i.e. if the equilibrium would be reached at a point that matches what we have, or even if it would at all - I don't know.

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Stuff's at the bottom of the page. The articles are dubbed 'cookbook cosmology'.

 

i'll start reading soon.

 

Ok. You've got two systems you need to consider here, one being the earth as a whole - which's radius is kept constant by the gravitational and centrifugal force

 

It is not kept constant, it is in equilibrium. for the centrifuge effect to throw heavy stuff to the outside the centrifugal force will exceed gravitational attraction. thus forcing the system out of equilibrium and destroying the earth. go on, calculate the forces involved if you don't believe me.

 

Say you've got a spinning mass with roughly evenly distributed amounts of - for the sake of easiness just - hydrogen and iron. The whole mass is kept together and over time shaped into a sphere by the gravitational force. The centrifugal force slowly pushes the iron towards the outside, where it's concentration therefore rises.

 

so, your saying that first the gravitational force is dominent and then centrfugal force is greater and the thing doesn't fly appart? please explain how this is physically possible.

 

After some time, the inside consists mostly of hydrogen and the outside of iron. Now, since iron molecules are much heavier than hydrogen ones, the gravitational force between the molecules in a given area rises with the concentration of iron. In flat view, you could imagine the iron as a chain around the hydrogen. This chain keeps itself together through the gravitational force.

 

??? explain further. totally didn't get that analogy.

 

Arti... ah well. Ok, suppose the whole mass is at first (quite) cold. You get heat from two sources here, radioactive decay and sunlight.

 

ahh but you have the issue of what happened to the heat of formation of the earth. all those collisions kept the entire earth liquid for quite a while. it also poses the question of how we accumulate so much hydrogen(or at least how it stayed unbonded) during the early stages of formation.

 

The radioactive materials that we have here in relevant amounts are (mostly) quite heavy, for which reason they'll get pushed to outside by the centrifuge effect just like the iron. Sunlight only heats up the surface, as well.

 

which require centrifugal force to be greater than the gravitational force which makes the planet want to fly appart.

 

From there, let's jump to the point where the equilibrium is already established. The radioactive decay heats both the outer and inner parts. On heating, part of the hydrogen liquidi- and gasifies and the pressure rises until at one point hydrogen starts to permeate through the iron. To be more precise, it'll rupture a passage through it.

 

so, ehh where is the evidence of these hydrogen ruptures, they should be pretty devastating and cause massive geological upheval as the entire crust collapses a bit. we're not talking the tiny little gnats sneeze that are volcanoes here.

 

The effusion of hot hydrogen causes both the pressure and the temperature to fall again, until the radioactive decay has again generated enough heat to trigger another effusion. This explains the origin of volcanoes, as well. They're simply 'iron' pushed outwards by the stream of gas.

 

why is hydrogen not THE prevalent gas given off by volcanoes then, why don't we see an astoundingly massive hydrogen flame?

 

also, this would still result in the core being far above absolute zero. it would be at hydrogens boiling point at that pressure minimum. probably on the order of a few hundred degrees c

 

EDIT: okay, i wrote a little explanation of stratification for you. it explains why i am opposed to your centrifuge idea.

 

right, so its obvious i'm going to have to explain in a little more detail. i have some time now so here goes:

 

for stratification to occur there needs to be a force acting on all particles where denser particle will sink. If there are multiple forces acting onthe particle then they will move in the direction of the net force(combination of the two forces).

 

do you get this?

 

right so, normal situation on earth just now:

outwards forces(centrifugal): negligble.

inwards forces(gravity): dominant

 

so, denser material ends up on the bottom.

 

situation you are proposing requires heavier stuff to go outwards therefore the net force direction must be outwards.which would give rise to the conditions

 

outwards forces: dominant

inwards forces: overpowered

 

so, this means that the general acceleration is outwards. if you placed a ball on the surface of this earth then it would be launched into space. the earth would NOT retain an atmosphere and would form a disk which ould fly appart on short order.

 

do you get this?

 

and remember, although on the short scale the crust seems fairly solid, it was not always her and it is very very flexible, infact on the global scale it acts like a plastic bordering on liquid. infact, it slowly rises and falls by about 3 metres due to the gravitational attraction of the moon pulling on it. it would not be able to hold the earth together in the event that centrifuge acction became apparent.

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I'll answer one part, the others should be answered by the articles. More after that.

 

so, your saying that first the gravitational force is dominent and then centrfugal force is greater and the thing doesn't fly appart? please explain how this is physically possible.

The whole gravitational system which's center is at the core of the earth is brought forth through the interaction between the molecules. There's not actually a single point in the center that attracts everything, it's just that as a result of the gravitational force between everything in the system it behaves as if there was.

Ok, so the effect of centrifugal force increases with the mass of the molecule. In other words, at the same spinning rate, hydrogen gets a smaller push than iron - for this reason, the hydrogen is kept in the center even though the gravitational force between the hydrogen molecules is smaller. The iron, on the other hand, gets a stronger push and is therefore forced towards the outside. There, it's concentration rises.

Now let's compare. At first, you've got, say, 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part iron per area at each point in the system. The hydrogen is kept in place wherever it is by the gravitational force between itself and the iron, i.e. the centrifugal force is not great enough to push it outwards. The iron, on the other hand, is pushed outwards, as the gravitational force of it's neighbouring hydrogen molecules is not sufficient to keep it in place. After a while, you'll have an area on the outermost part of the system where there's no hydrogen at all, so instead of 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part iron you've now got 3 parts iron.

Furthermore, the increased gravitational force between the molecules - increased because of the now greater atomar mass per area - also increases the density, which in turn increases the gravitational force. And so on, until the equilibrium for this system is reached.

So, you've now got a big increase of gravitational force per area in the parts where iron accumulates - in other words, on the outer parts.

The radius has not increased in the process, as in the beginning we already had hydrogen on the outer parts, so the maximum centrifugal force has not increased, as well. Of course, some of the iron - the part that was already near the outside in the beginning - would have been lost. But apart from that, the mass is kept together.

 

In other words - regarding the part you added - you've got - in flat view - a circle of iron around a dot of hydrogen. The circle is kept together by itself, i.e. the gravitational force between the molecules it consists of. Not a gravitational center in the earth's core. The gravitational force is stronger on the outside/in the circle.

Regarding the temperature, you're point is valid, but only applies to the outermost parts of the hydrogen core - after some time has passed, at least. The inner parts cool down over time by giving off heat towards the outer parts.

 

€: You'd have a point regarding the centrifuge if the core already consisted of the heaviest molecules in the beginning. In that case, of course, the whole thing would either be kept together as it is or blown apart with increasing speed.

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Regarding the temperature, you're point is valid, but only applies to the outermost parts of the hydrogen core - after some time has passed, at least. The inner parts cool down over time by giving off heat towards the outer parts.

 

ahh, the thermodynamics be damnd response. how exactly does heat flow from a colder region to a hotter region?

 

€: You'd have a point regarding the centrifuge if the core already consisted of the heaviest molecules in the beginning. In that case, of course, the whole thing would either be kept together as it is or blown apart with increasing speed.

 

well it would do wouldn't it as there is no way the hydrogen came together first and the solid stuff would fall through the hydrogen(which would still be gaseous) during formation.

 

as to your big explanation of the centrifuge, you are forgetting the concept of net force.

 

if the net force is outwards it will fly appart as the iron would not have the tensile strength to hold itself together(not to mention the pressure from the internal hydrogen) and the force of gravity would already be more than countered by the centrifugal force.

 

also, big spinning spheres undergo MASSIVE stresses which would probably be sufficient to break the 'crust' of iron where it would be flung off into space.

 

you seem to be picking and choosing when and where gravity and the centrifugal force act. they are always acting everywhere. without some sort of external inwards force the earth could not spin fast enough to act as a centrifuge AND stay together.

 

not to mention in the early life of the planet where it was spinning somewhat faster it was mostly if not completely liquid due to bombardment and gravitational collapse.

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ahh, the thermodynamics be damnd response. how exactly does heat flow from a colder region to a hotter region?

Pressure. Which is, again, why I said to read the articles first. Just postpone answering until after that, it'll make things easier.

 

the net force is outwards it will fly appart as the iron would not have the tensile strength to hold itself together(not to mention the pressure from the internal hydrogen) and the force of gravity would already be more than countered by the centrifugal force.

That is a question of quantity, not quality, though. Which version'd actually happen you'd have to calculate.

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Pressure. Which is, again, why I said to read the articles first. Just postpone answering until after that, it'll make things easier.

 

i don't need to read an article to know when the laws of thermodynamics are being violated. in a solid system(which is the case here as we are dealing with metallic hydrogen) there is NO WAY to transfer heat from a cold place to a hot place. even if there was a way it would not be able to occur without considerable energy input(and seeing as the we are dealing with the core here, that one HELL of a lot of energy.)

 

That is a question of quantity, not quality, though. Which version'd actually happen you'd have to calculate.

 

its both actually. forces are vectors. we know the net force would have to be outwards as stratification is happening upside down so that means gravity is overpowered and we know it has to have happened in a short timescale(at most a billion years) so it probably going to be a couple of g outward acceleration(and it will be because the earth would not hold together.

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i don't need to read an article to know when the laws of thermodynamics are being violated.

Well, actually you do.

 

And you're still oversimplifying, so I don't see a point in continuing this way, sorry.

Which is not to say I believe to be right, it just seems we're not going to find out either way.

 

€: Not that I wasn't also simplifying. The longer - and more physically correct - version is in the article. Just read that first if you want to continue, I'm not going to rephrase everything that's written there to post it here.

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I'm not going to rephrase everything that's written there to post it here.

 

For as many posts as you've made and as much time as you've spent saying "read the article," you could have cited the applicable parts in support of your position and in response to the specific questions which have been addressed to you. :doh:

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For as many posts as you've made and as much time as you've spent saying "read the article," you could have cited the applicable parts in support of your position and in response to the specific questions which have been addressed to you. :doh:

Which in turn would raise more questions, eventually leading to me quoting roughly half of the articles. Great.

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okay, i gave reading the article a go. it starts off with the assumption that everything we know is wrong, throws in a few conspiracies abot experiments with diamond anvils saying they produced persisting hydrogen metal and so on and so forth.

 

it would take me days to read through them all and weeks to sift out any bits of proper knowledge from the trash.

 

please, quote specific parts of the article you think are relevant to the issues at hand. this does not mean the entire document but a few paragraphs and equations that describe the point.

 

i still have seen no mechanism put forward for getting the core to near absolute zero without some sort of magical energy sink at the center. spontaneous heat transfer from a cold area to a hot area just does not happen. it violates several well founded theories in science. principles that i use nearly every day and that model reality to within the error range of my measurements. for heat to flow the wrong way in any case would cause these to be invalid and they shouldn't work at all.

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please, quote specific parts of the article you think are relevant to the issues at hand. this does not mean the entire document but a few paragraphs and equations that describe the point.

Ok, here goes. That bit is taken from the second article. You'll probably notice why I said to read everything first.

 

All heat pump cycles work by compression and decompression. Under compression the refrigerant gives up heat; whereas, under decompression the refrigerant absorbs heat. Earth’s compressive stroke starts when dirty ice matrices try to expand in response to a rise in their temperatures. But, the strong stony shell holds the ice matrices in place. Their expansion squeezes the Earth's inner crystal and pressure goes up. To relieve pressure, the core's crystalline hydrogen collapses to its more compact metallic state. In doing so, it expels heat. Expelled heat moves along the helium (superfluid helium is a perfect conductor of heat) filled collapsing crystal lattice to a grain boundary, which aims a thin line of hot helium at the upper shells. This thin line of hot helium bores a hole through the ice matrices and the stony shells directly above the intersection of the collapsing crystal lattice and the crystal grain boundary. Heat thus escapes to space. However, some of these lines of he at do not break through to the surface. Instead they heat magma that bulges Earth's crust to become Hot Spots, which act like hot plates. Stony shells warm and plant and animal life move toward the poles. (Note: Night time temperatures on average have gone up over the last 100 years, because of the effect of these hot plates.) In time, the strong stony shell gives way to allow inner pressure to relax -- the ice matrices expand, pressure drops within, surface heating stops, and the Earth chills as the inner crystal absorbs heat to bring the upper shells back to their original or colder temperatures (Earth goes into an Ice Age). As stony bonds renew, in the latter part of chill down, the hot-cold cycle starts anew. During the complete pump cycle, more heat escapes to space than gets absorbed by the inner crystal. The net result nudges the inner crystal ever colder into a super cold metallic state.

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okay, so not only do we have sensible heat we need to transfer but we have the latent heat of a phasechange that needs to be carried away by a miraculous refrigeration network of helium three that still manages to cool the very center of the core and manages to remain liquid despite the enormous pressures under which it would freeze solid?

 

this helium three is also at thousands of degrees centigrade and gets compressed as it moves outwards by some unknown action(certainly not pressures as a result of depth) and forms magma.

 

now, forgive me if i seem a little skeptical about this but WHAT THE FRIKKIN HELL?

 

this stuff is incoherent. it shows both a non understanding of thermodynamics, hydrostatic pressures, mass and energy balances, gravity and mechanical stresses.

 

also, where is the energy input to drive this refrigeration cycle? we are not talking a simple convection system here but active cooling.

 

seriously, read up on thermodynamics, it is only one of the many areas where this thing is utter tosh on.

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also, where is the energy input to drive this refrigeration cycle? we are not talking a simple convection system here but active cooling.

Radioactive decay in the shell surrounding the core and the helium.

 

this helium three is also at thousands of degrees centigrade and gets compressed as it moves outwards by some unknown action(certainly not pressures as a result of depth) and forms magma.

It is forced outwards by an increase in pressure, which is brought upon by the heat generated through radioactive decay. The shell surrounding it is solid, as is the core, so heating can only result in an increase of pressure.

A simple model to illustrate: ---++*++----

- are the outer parts, + the shell in which the decay is happening and * are the inner parts. The - parts can give off heat into space, so the heat does not cause an increase of pressure there. Likewise with the outer + parts. The * parts, on the other hand, cannot, so the heat leads to an increase in pressure there. This continues until the pressure in * is large enough to force part of it outwards through +.

 

As for the rest, how do you believe to be able to understand the context without having read it? It's not just 'exchange iron core with hydrogen'.

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Radioactive decay in the shell surrounding the core and the helium.

 

This does not explain it. if it were a convection cell, then it still wouldn't explain it as the heat input would be at the wrong part of the cycle. this actually makes your position weaker.

 

It is forced outwards by an increase in pressure,

 

but then has to be further compressed when it reaches the top to be feasible as a refrigeration loop. if it were a refrigeration loop is would be at its lowest pressure at the core to be effective.

 

which is brought upon by the heat generated through radioactive decay.

 

Ah, but didn't you say radioactive particles were forced outwards by the centrifuge effect? if they have time to percolate down that far then so does the rest of everything and wew would be in the situation the scientific consensus says we are in.

 

A simple model to illustrate: ---++*++----

- are the outer parts, + the shell in which the decay is happening and * are the inner parts. The - parts can give off heat into space, so the heat does not cause an increase of pressure there. Likewise with the outer + parts. The * parts, on the other hand, cannot, so the heat leads to an increase in pressure there. This continues until the pressure in * is large enough to force part of it outwards through +.

 

this does not make sense, pressure and temperature are not interrelated like you are implying they are.(i'm not saying there isn't a relationsip hough, i know full well there is but it doesn't work like you imply it does)

 

As for the rest, how do you believe to be able to understand the context without having read it? It's not just 'exchange iron core with hydrogen'.

 

i realise this but context does not negate the laws of physics and chemistry.

 

do you have any peer reveiwed articles on the subject? i suspect they will be easier to read and actually contain some maths that i can peruse.

 

The article seems to be freely interchanging passive and active cooling cycles. this IS NOT ACCURATE. you cannot have a convection cycle working backwards and the active cooling has no possible mechanism(it requires at least a pump).

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