Matter/Energy and Atomic Fusion

by Tom Gilmore
Copyright 2017
All graphics by Tom Gilmore
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Part I – Solar Fusion

Atomic weight (Z) equals Protons + Neutrons (P+N).
Atomic number is the number of Protons (P). 

The syntax used for the Isotopes below is (atomic weight)Element-symbol(atomic number), or
(Z)Symbol(P)
For example Helium is (4)He(2), with 2 Neutrons and 2 Protons.

Due to the massive gravity of the Sun, matter accretes, and temperature and pressure increases.  During the compression all the Neutrons have converted to Protons, and this acts as an inhibitor to fusion.  At 107K degrees the matter ignites and the Hydrogen burns into Deuterium, (1)H(1) à (2)H(1), converting a Proton into a Neutron (fusing 2 Hydrogen atoms).  The Deuterium fuses another Hydrogen without converting the Proton, (3)He(2), and this is unstable, but two of these immediately fuse into a Helium atom, releasing 2 Hydrogen atoms, 2 Neutrinos, and 26.7 mega-electron-volts..
(3)He(2) + (3)He(2)  à (4)He(2) + (1)H(1) + (1)H(1) + 2Neutrinos + 26.7MeV.

The Neutrinos fly off as solar wind, and the energy released increases the temperature of the Sun.

The Helium(2) tries to fuse into Beryllium(4) but the dip in binding energy (see graph above) at Beryllium causes it to decompose, until the temperature reaches 108K and the next phase of burning begins (a chain-like fusing of Helium atoms).

(4)He(2)+(4)He(2) à (8)Be(4)
(8)Be(4)+(4)He(2) à (12)C(6)
(12)C(6)+(4)He(2) à (16)O(8)
(16)O(8)+(4)He(2) à (20)Ne(10)

Following is another way to specify the fusions that shows how Z and P are added together

(4)He(2)   (8)Be(4)   (12)C(6)   (16)O(8)
(4)He(2)   (4)He(2)   (4)He(2)   (4)He(2)  
(8)Be(4)   (12)C(6)   (16)O(8)   (20)Ne(10)

Then the fused nuclides combine

(12)C(6)          (12)C(6)          (16)O(8)
(12)C(6)          (16)O(8)          (16)O(8)
(24)Mg(12)     (28)Si(14)       (32)S(16)

At temperatures over 109K the final phase of mainstream sun burning initiates, building from (20)Neon(10) 

n-Value

The number of excess Neutrons over Protons, is significant because of the Isotope balance formula (z=2P+P2/156).  The excess is called the n-Value, which is n=(Z-2P)), and means the balance in terms of n is
n=(2P+P2/156) -2P = P2/156 = n-gradient

When Z-2P of the fused atom deviates from the n-gradient by more than 1, the fused atom may eject 2 Hydrogen atoms (2H), dropping down to an Element 2 atomic numbers lower.

For P=14, n=P2/156 ~1.256 Rounds to 1
For P=16, n ~ 1.641  Rounds to 2, but (32)S(16) does not drop 2H.

The Final Fusions

For P=18, n=P2/156=2.038 Rounds to 2       
For P=24, n=P2/156=3.692 Rounds to 4. 

This means that the Neutron count for Argon(18) wants to be equal to the Proton count plus 2, and Chromium(24) wants plus 4.
To accommodate this, the fused Argon nuclide drops 2 Protons as Hydrogen atoms.

(20)Ne(10)
(20)Ne(10)
(40)Ca(20) à 2H + (38)Ar(18).  n=(38-18x2)=2

(24)Mg(12)
(24)Mg(12)
(48)Cr(24) à 2H + (46)Ti(22).  n=2

(28)Si(14)
(28)Si(14)
(56)Ni(28) à 2H + (54)Fe(26) à 2H (52)Cr(24).  n=4

(28)Si(14)
(32)S(16)
(60)Zn(30) à 2H + (58)Ni(28) à 2H + (56)Fe(26).  n=4
             or  à 2H + (58)Ni(28).  n=2

In the case of fusion to Zinc(30) which drops to Nickel. some of the (58)Nickel(28) does not reduce to (56)Iron(26).  This is because the binding energy of Nickel is only very marginally less than Iron.

This explains why Nickel is an aberrant nuclide, off its Isotope balance of n=5 (by -3).  

Supernova Fusions

Iron(26) is at the peak of binding energy (see graph above), and the binding energy decreases for subsequent Elements, so the fusion process stops at Iron/Nickel.  Elements heavier than Iron/Nickel are produced in supernova explosions.

The burning of fusion is fueled by the release of binding energy (which is a mass-deficit in the nuclide).  In fusing 2 nuclides, the resulting single nuclide usually must have a higher binding energy than either of the 2 fused nuclides alone.  The excess binding energy is released as heat.  In the case of Chromium(24), Iron(26), and Nickel(28) shown above, the dropping of Protons as Hydrogen(1) atoms uses some of the excess binding energy to bind the Hydrogen nuclides.

Alpha and Beta Decay

All the solar fusions result in even-numbered Elements.  Inexorable alpha and beta decay eventually reduces all the Elements back down to Hydrogen(1) and (4)Heliun(2).  Alpha decay sends off a Helium atom, reducing the Element that decays down by 2 atomic numbers.  For example (52)Chromium(24) aà (48)Titanium(22) + (4)Helium(2), or

(52)Chromium(24)  n=4   aà
- (4)Helium(2)
(48)Titanium(22)  n=4

Alpha decay results in retaining (in the resulting Element) the excess neutrons (the n-value) of the decayed Element.

The odd-numbered elements are created by beta decays, which either change a Neutron to a Proton (beta-minus) or a Proton to a Neutron (beta-plus).  These labels are counter-intuitive, since beta-plus drops 1 atomic number and beta-minus adds one atomic number.  This labeling resulted from the misconception that an Electron is “captured” when the Neutron converts to a Proton.  For the actual process refer to the article on Mass and Gravity.

Successive alpha-decays eventually result in an excess Neutron imbalance to the n-gradient and this induces beta-minus decay, which changes a Neutron to a Proton, reducing the n-value by 2 and increasing the atomic number by 1 (the atomic weight is unchanged).  For example,

(59)Iron(26)  n=7  a à
- (4)Helium(2)
(55)Chromium(24)  n=7  (balance=3)  b- à
(55)Magnesium(25)  n=5

Refer to the Isotope abundance charts for the beta decays of the Elements.

Part II -- Energy and the Phases of Matter

The 5 Phases of Matter

Molecules are subject to phase changes related to temperature, listed below from cold to hot:

Superconductive
Solid
Liquid
Gaseous
Plasma

Cold is limited to absolute zero, but heat appears to be limited only by atomic fusion dynamics.  At extreme cold a condition called superconductivity occurs, where the resistance to electricity is eliminated. 

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