MEEN1110 Dr. Matthew J. Traum Mechanical & Energy Engineering Practice I University of North Texas (UNT) Fall Semester 2007 Problem Set 1 Due: Thursday, September 6, 2007 @ 4pm According to the attached article, “Helium shortage hampers research and industry” which appeared in the June 2007 edition of Physics Today , the world is facing a shortage of the gas helium. The following new solution to generate helium was recently proposed. Enclose a quantity of radioactive material in an airtight chamber. Within the chamber, capture the alpha particles resulting from the radioactive decay process. Allow the alpha particles to pick up stray electrons, causing them to become regular helium atoms. Compress the helium atoms into gas useful for industry and research applications. Your assignment is to evaluate the economic feasibility of the helium generation process described above. You should be able to estimate the cost of generating helium via this method drawing upon high-school-level chemistry and a modest amount if Internet research. Please compare the cost of generating helium
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