In the wikipedia page "Future of an expanding universe" it refers to the scenario of a future without proton decay.

The page talks about how processes would lead to stellar-mass cold spheres of iron, calling these objects "iron stars":

In 101500 years, cold fusion occurring via quantum tunnelling should make the light nuclei in ordinary matter fuse into iron-56 nuclei. Fission and alpha-particle emission should make heavy nuclei also decay to iron, leaving stellar-mass objects as cold spheres of iron, called iron stars.

Under the heading "Collapse of iron star to black hole" it then says :

Quantum tunnelling should also turn large objects into black holes. Depending on the assumptions made, the time this takes to happen can be calculated as from 101026 years to 101076 years. Quantum tunnelling may also make iron stars collapse into neutron stars in around 101076 years.

How would quantum tunnelling lead to the collapse of an iron star to a black hole?

  • $\begingroup$ There's a pdf file at bit.ly/2aHylid if this does not connect you to the file, try searching for "BLACK HOLE PRODUCTION VIA QUANTUM TUNNELING by SN Solodukhin" it's on a cern server, so you could search their main site. $\endgroup$ – user108787 Jul 26 '16 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ @count_to_10 That paper is very interesting, but appears to deal with the creation of black holes from the collision of individual particles. What I don't understand is how quantum tunnelling could lead a stellar mass object such as the conjectured iron star to become a black hole over the stated time period. $\endgroup$ – Matt Jones Jul 26 '16 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I just looked at the title and the first page of it. I have absolutely no idea how quantum tunneling would work, apart from a silly idea that the density would increase to BH levels if, eventually all the tunneled particles collected in a small enough region, a few at the start then, as more collect, the density increases. $\endgroup$ – user108787 Jul 26 '16 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @count_to_10 No need to apologise, it's an interesting paper and may be related to the process I'm trying to find out more about. $\endgroup$ – Matt Jones Jul 26 '16 at 16:19

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