In GB2 Egon mentions that the proton packs power source has a half life of around 5000 years.

Assuming he means the half life in terms of radioactive isotope decay that would mean the power source is Curium-246.

Curium sits right between holmium and carbon-14 in terms of half life, at 4730 years. There are no other isotopes around the 5000 year half life mark, apart from these three.

holmium-153--4570 years
curium-246----4730 years
carbon-14------5730 years

Interestingly, where holmium and carbon-14 isotope decay yields almost no energy, curium decay yields very high energies.

Infact curium is used as fuel in radioisotope thermoelectric generators on board spacecraft:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisot ... _generator


Also curium decays with α-particle radiation which is a lot safer to humans than isotopes that decay using much more dangerous beta radiation (& gamma/X-rays). That is another reason why curium has practical application uses in spacecraft as opposed to isotopes of e.g. radium, or uranium.

It's crazy how specific Aykroyd's science is when you look for it.

PS: You'll note the pressure venting device in the illustration above.
Last edited by One time on January 2nd, 2023, 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
So awesome! I remember watching a documentary a few years ago where Aykroyd was talking about Ecto 1 and the other tools of the trade. There wasn’t one item that he didn’t know the purpose and backstory of. I looked up some of the things he said and the science was spot on, made me appreciate the movie even more.
jpetrutis81 liked this
JWils23 wrote: August 12th, 2018, 10:03 am So awesome! I remember watching a documentary a few years ago where Aykroyd was talking about Ecto 1 and the other tools of the trade. There wasn’t one item that he didn’t know the purpose and backstory of. I looked up some of the things he said and the science was spot on, made me appreciate the movie even more.
I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that he told the guys at Terminal Reality what to call the different pack modes and also insisted on them calling the ghost trap a "muon" trap.

Muons are known to penetrate through everything (much more than X-rays) and they don't give off much radiation when they decelerate (hit something.) That makes it an ideal choice for a ghost trap entrapment cone that has to:

a.) work in all weather conditions, penetrate through anything in between it and the entity
b.) be "safe" to use in public

In fact muons have a practical application in muon tomography systems:


It's funny how Aykroyd explains part of the equipment on the roof of the Ecto-1 as "muon scrubbers".
at 11:15s into this video:


I guess to decontaminate the GB's and the environment from trace particles of muons after a bust?

PS: Muon decay produces electrons, which could explain the blue sparks coming out of the entrapment cone when the trap is open.
I was bored this Sunday morning and decided to try to calculate the power output of a proton pack. Lets see if this exercise is going to work. If there are any engineers feel free to correct this most likely faulty calculation. I'm an architect, not an electrical engineer or a nuclear physicist.

The canon lists the electric output of Ghostbusting equipment as respectively 1 kV for the Trap (movies) and 3 kV for the Proton Pack (GBTVG). Let's look at the wattage and amps.

Curium apparently yields about 4 watt per gram when used as fuel by heat generated through decay in radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Basically it glows red hot because of radiation and constantly generates heat. If we assume the packs have about a 1kg sample, this means 4000 watts of constant power. So a 3 kV proton pack powered by a kilogram of Curium fuelled RTG, so consuming 4000 watts would mean it's only drawing about 1.33 amps.

3kV and 4000 watts is akin to a large electric generator. For example a fridge uses about 1500W, a jacuzzi about 2800W. This kind of power could power smaller cyclotrons such as those used in medical devices, X-Ray machines, radiotherapy machines, etc. But the power -output- of these are around 50-100 watts maximum, like a light bulb. Cyclotrons are very inefficient in converting the power they consume into the power they produce.

Obviously that is too little power for what we see the beams in Ghostbusters do.

Judging from the proton beam destruction of the bar in the Sedgewick Hotel scene I'd guess the power output is around 50 kW. Similar to the destruction a 300lbs man would cause if crashing into that bar running at about 22 mph. A strong firehose is about 30 kW so that sounds about right.

But cyclotrons are very inefficient.

http://accelconf.web.cern.ch/AccelConf/ ... 1_talk.pdf

Depending on the size the efficiency varies from (small cyclotron) less than 1% to (large cyclotron) around 14%. Lets take 3%.

That means we would need to consume 30x the power needed to be able to output 50kW. So we would need 1.5 megawatts of power. 1500000 watts at 3000 volts which would draw 500 amps.

1.5 MW of power can power around 200 homes simultaneously. As a comparison, the worlds largest particle accelerator, the Cern large hadron collider uses about 120 MW of power. That is a serious electricity bill.

Anyhow so we could say the proton pack consumes about 1.5 million watts. That means the 4000 watts generated by using the 1kg of Curium as fuel in a radioisotope thermoelectric generator would be nowhere near enough. That leads me to think that the Curium maybe isn't used as a simple heatsource through decay, but is used as actual nuclear reactor fuel through fission. The fission of 1 g of nuclear fuel (like Curium) per 24h liberates about 1 MW of power. That would mean there is a miniature nuclear reactor in the proton pack.

Edit: lol, this is what Wikipedia says

"All isotopes between 242Cm and 248Cm, as well as 250Cm, undergo a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction and thus in principle can act as a nuclear fuel in a reactor.

245Cm and 247Cm have a very small critical mass and therefore could be used in portable nuclear weapons, but none have been reported thus far."

Then again parts of the proton pack could be nuclear powered and parts could be RTG powered. Here's a list I found of parts.

Ok my mind is fried, I should never have done this on a Sunday morning.

GBKid1984 liked this

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