Massive stars may undergo multiple fusion processes as they near the end of their lifespans. Our sun will eventually start fusing helium in its inner core so that carbon is formed. As this occurs, the radiation energy will be large, and the sun will expand into a red giant phase. After a while, as the star begins to run out of helium "fuel", the star will contract again. As the fusion shells then move out towards the surface, the outer layers will eventually be discarded from the star, and we are left with a white dwarf.
At least that is my understanding (I'm a newbie when it comes to this stuff, so go easy!)
Stars with much larger mass than our sun, will, however, have the potential to also start fusion of carbon into even heavier elements. And these heavier elements my fuse further still, all the way up to, in the most extreme cases, iron.
My question is as follows:
Will these stars undergo a phase of expansion and contraction every time a new fusion process begins? That is, it will have an expansion phase as the helium fuses into carbon, just like our sun, but when the star contracts again, and the carbon begins to fuse heavier elements, will the star then experience a second expansion process into a second red giant phase? And when the next fusion process begins, will the star undergo a third expansion phase, etc. Or is it so that these stars, like our sun, only have one red giant phase, but in this phase all the heavier fusion processes being without an expansion phase for each process? Or may both scenarios occur depending upon the properties of the star?
If someone can clarify this for me, then I would truly appreciate it. Searching on Google did not give me a clear answer to this question, and sometimes I even got conflicting viewpoints.
Any input will really be appreciated!