Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

61

Heavy elements couldn't form right after the Big Bang because there aren't any stable nuclei with 5 or 8 nucleons. Source: Wikipedia (user Pamputt) In the Big Bang nucleosynthesis, the main product was $^4He$, because it is the most stable light isotope: 20 minutes after the Big Bang, helium-4 represented about 25% of the mass of the Universe, and the ...


30

In the case of a supernova explosion it is possible to create heavy elements through fusion. Supernovae have a tremendous amount of energy in a very small volume but not as much energy per volume as there was in our early universe. So, what is the major difference? Why didn't the Big Bang create heavy elements? I just want to point out, too much ...


20

The Sun fuses protons, and this is a very slow process because there is no bound state of two protons. Hydrogen bombs fuse deuterium and tritium, and this is much, much faster because there is a bound state of these nucleides. You might like to have a look at: How much faster is the fusion we make on earth compared to the fusion that happens in the sun? ...


18

This question is answered in detail by the so-called "Big Bang Nucleosynthesis", the theory about the creation of the nuclei in the early Universe. Almost out of nothing, it allows one to determine that 75% of the nuclear mass was coming in hydrogen, 25% in helium, and some small traces of lithium appeared, too. Even though Gamow used to think that all ...


11

As dmckee says in his comment - Population III stars have no metals (a tiny bit of lithium and beryllium), but they are not "pure hydrogen stars", they still have the big bang fraction of Helium. Taking the second part of your question first. These "stars" will last for ever. Their final fate is to become a completely degenerate ball of helium, supported by ...


11

Lithium and other light elements (e.g. beryllium) can be formed indirectly from supernovae via cosmic ray spallation, a process where protons and neutrons are ejected when a cosmic ray collides with another atom. The nucleons can then form new elements. Nakamura & Shigeyama (2004) were able to calculate yields for 6Li, 7Li, and isotopes of Beryllium and ...


10

Elements heavier than iron are produced mainly by neutron-capture inside stars, although there are other more minor contributors (cosmic ray spallation, radioactive decay). Neutron capture can occur rapidly (the r-process) and occurs mostly inside supernova explosions (though other mechanisms such as merging neutron stars have been mooted). The free ...


8

I think the colloquial term for that type of plot is "spaghetti diagram" because you have a bunch of lines running across it. It's really the mass fraction as a function of interior mass. From our stellar structure equations, we have that $$ \frac{dm}{dr}=4\pi r^2\rho, $$ which is derived from the mass-continuity equation, so you can relate the radius, $r$ ...


7

By "consume" we mean "convert into helium." That $6\times10^{11}\ \mathrm{kg}$ of hydrogen is part of the Sun (specifically it is found in the core of the Sun), and it is converted into $6\times10^{11}\ \mathrm{kg}$ of helium. The Sun doesn't need to suck up material from space. Note that this amount of material is miniscule compared to the $2\times10^{30}\ ...


6

It is not true that in all fusion and fission processes the mass of the products is less than the mass of the reactants. This is only valid for exothermic reactions. The change of mass is due to the change in the binding energy of the nucleons (note that the change in binding energy is in the order of 1 MeV, while the mass of the nucleons is around 940 ...


5

I personally doubt that the Compact Fusion Reactor as presented by Lockheed Martin last week can work, but I haven't seen enough information to be certain. And to some extent, you never know until you try. (As I understand it, they only have a very early prototype, I mean try as in a full scale prototype.) What I think I can say with certainty, is that it ...


5

Transmuting chemically significant quantities of one element to another using nuclear reactions is not cost effective for any naturally occurring element. Nuclear physics is the end of alchemy. Two examples I happen have off the top of my head: the "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" nuclear weapons deployed in the second world war each involved about $10^{24}$ ...


4

The final stage of nucleosynthesis at the core of a massive star involves the production of iron-peak elements, mostly determined by competition between alpha capture and photodisintegration. The starting material is mostly Si28 and weak processes are unable to significantly alter the n/p ratio from unity on short enough timescales. Thus the expected outcome ...


4

After doing some more research I found the answer to my question. The method I proposed was actually one of the first methods for hydrogen-boron fusion that was tested. It's called "fixed/solid target proton-boron-11 fusion". Experimentation very quickly showed that the method could not work because of two big problems: As #dmckee already commented above, ...


4

I think you already know the answer... Pop III stars, by definition, are born from primordial gas that is basically Hydrogen, Helium with trace amounts of deuterium, tritium, lithium and beryllium; they initially contain almost no C, N, or O. Therefore the primary fusion in massive Pop III stars has to be (well, initially the deuterium is burned but this is ...


4

Very high temperature, on the order of 10 keV (100 million degrees Kelvin), is needed for fusion reactions to start to happen at appreciable rates. However, in magnetic fusion devices (tokamak, stellarator) the transport of heat across the plasma (mainly due to plasma turbulence) causes heat losses. Making the system larger allows increasing the heating ...


3

I wonder if your number 48% comes from the typical Carnot efficiency of a heat engine - see for example a detailed description at http://www.visionofearth.org/industry/fusion/how-do-we-turn-nuclear-fusion-energy-into-electricity/ When you want to use heat to create electricity, you typically convert the heat into motion (for example by rotating a turbine, ...


3

The sun gets its energy from the pp-chain. The first step is the two protons forming the diproton (Helium-2): $$ \,^1_1H+\,^1_1H\to\,^2_2He+\gamma $$ where the $\gamma$ is the photon (of energy about half an MeV). This quickly $\beta^+$-decays into a deuterium by converting a proton into a neutron: $$ \,^2_2He\to\,^2_1D+e^++\nu_e $$ where $e^+$ is the ...


3

There isn't exactly a mathematical relationship, but there is a physical one. It is the gravitational compression that causes the increase in temperature in the core of the gas cloud that becomes a star. When the temperature reaches a critical value (in the millions of Kelvin range), hydrogen fusion can occur. This is because the temperature is great enough ...


3

Oh, but we do! I'm assuming you mean using the fields to simply collide particles with each other, right? Then that's already being done. For example, take this neat little machine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor This one runs on the exact same principle you described (though I'm not quite familiar with the inner workings of the LHC). For energy ...


3

Some rough estimates (you can dig up more accurate numbers): The oceans contain about 321 million cubic miles of water (source: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/oceanwater.html), or 3.5e20 U.S. gal. 1 gal seawater contains roughly enough deuterium to provide the same energy as 300 gal of gasoline (maybe slightly less - that's the part for your homework!), ...


3

I'd simply like to add to physicsphile's answer. The primary source for this question is Konopinski, E. J; C. Marvin; Edward Telle, "Ignition of the Atmosphere with Nuclear Bombs", Los Alamos National Laboratory technical report #LA-602 It shows that the answer to the OP's question is "highly unlikely". It does not prove impossibility. It's an ...


3

$^{56}Ni$ is produced in silicon-fusion stars. The fusion process doesn't "stop" at $Fe$. Several A=56 nuclides show up. See the Wiki-pedia article on :Silicon burning. Also, Introductory Nuclear Physics by Krane, Chapter 19, Section 4.


3

The main problem with boron (relative to 3He) is that the atomic number is high. This means that the plasma must run at a considerably higher temperature, about a factor of 10, in order to overcome the Coulomb barrier. Higher temperature means faster electrons in the plasma. Faster electrons means more radiation when the electrons "hit" the walls. This ...


3

The amount of energy liberated per gram of material per second in the fusion reactions depends on the density, the mass fraction (hydrogen, $X$, helium, $Y$, and all others $Z$) and temperature: $$ \epsilon = \epsilon(\rho,X, Y, Z, T) $$ Typically we express the energy generation rate as a power law, $$ \epsilon\propto\rho^\alpha T^\delta. $$ though the ...


3

A brief history of what science thought about the sun can be found here . It is reasonable that once thermodynamics advanced to the point of measuring and calculating energies the discrepancy between heat output of the sun and the age of the earth had to be explained. They tried with gravitation, but until the discovery of nuclear energy and E=m*c^2 it ...


3

A very nice question about a common misconception in books on astrophysics (I've made the same mistake in a comment here). According to M.P. Fewell, the origin of this misconception lies in the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and the abundance of the elements. While other nuclei have higher binding energy per nucleon, $^{56}\mathrm{Fe}$ is more abundant ...


3

Jupiter will never (not on any timescale like the lifetime of the Sun anyway) accrete enough mass to begin hydrogen fusion. It would need to accrete 12 times its current mass to undergo a brief period of fusing its interior deuterium and to accrete more than 70 times its current mass to attain a central temperature high enough to sustain hydrogen (pp chain) ...


3

The sun's core has a density of of 150 g/cm³ (150 times the density of liquid water) at the center, and a temperature of close to 15,700,000 kelvin, or about 15,700,000 degrees Celsius; by contrast, the surface of the Sun is close to 6,000 kelvin. The core is made of hot, dense gas in the plasmic state, at a pressure estimated at 265 billion bar (26.5 ...


3

The important argument for this discussion is the Bethe Weizsäcker formula, which describes the binding energy of nuclei. I will try to give a cursory overview of the most important aspects. Not only heavy elements show fission and fusion. All elements up to iron-56 (one of the nuclei with the highest binding energy per nucleon) can create energy in ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible