Re: Nanonukes and square cube law

Spike Jones (
Wed, 27 Jan 1999 21:17:07 -0800

> Ron Kean wrote:
> > I think that a matter-antimatter bomb would exhibit the same efficiency
> > (energy per unit mass) regardless of size....
> Billy Brown wrote: So far as energy production is concerned that is
> correct...

extropians, after pondering the concept of nanonukes i think i made an error even larger than saying fusion when i meant fission. we all did. the concept of nuclear reactions at a nano scale is unreasonable because it is so totally unnecessary, at least as far as a power source for nanoscale machines. let us consider non-weapons here, since the use of nuclear material for weapons use has already been sufficiently worked out. {8-[

think for a minute of the square cube law. in aircraft it explains why 747s look the way they do: as the linear scale increases, the wing area goes up as the square but the mass goes up as the cube. chemical power sources are not sufficient to carry planes a whole lot larger than the 47.

ok now go back down the scale. we are accustomed to getting power from violent chemical reactions such as octane and air, but a plant can get all the energy it needs from photosynthesis. plants on our scale generally need a lot of leaves, but single celled plants have so little chlorophyll they sometimes dont even look green, and yet they seem wildly active under a microscope. chlorophyll creates sugars, which break down in a much gentler reaction than oxygen combustion.

so, if the lesson of nature is not misleading, we dont need nanonukes, or even nanoscale combustion. the square cube law would suggest that nanobots should be able to create all the energy they need using chlorophyll and the fusion reactor nature has already generously provided: the sun. right? spike