Fusion


For centuries, humankind has looked at the stars, and for just as many years
humankind has tried to explain the existence of those very same stars. Were
they holes in an enormous canvas that covered the earth? Were they fire-flies
that could only be seen when the Apollo had parked his chariot for the night?
There seemed to be as many explanations for the stars as there were stars
themselves. Then one day an individual named Galileo Galilei made an astounding
discovery: the stars were replicas of our own sun, only so far away that they
seemed as large as pin pricks to the naked eye. This in turn gave rise to many
more questions. What keeps the stars burning? Have they always been ...

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Now replace those balls of clay with sub-atomic
particles, and when they meld, release an enormous amount of energy. This is
fusion. There is currently three known variations of fusion: the proton-proton
reaction (Figure 1.1), the carbon cycle (Figure 1.2), and the triple-alpha
process (Figure 1.3). In the proton-proton reaction, a proton (the positively
charged nucleus of a hydrogen atom) is forced so close to another proton (within
a tenth of a trillionth of an inch) that a short range nuclear force known as
the strong force takes over and forces the two protons to bond together (1). One
proton then decays into a neutron (a particle with the same mass as a proton,
but with no charge), a positron (a positively charged particle with almost no
mass), and a neutrino (a particle with almost no mass, and no charge). The
neutrino and positron then radiate off, releasing heat energy. The remaining
particle is known as a deuteron, or the nucleus of the hydrogen isotope
deuterium. ...

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cluster,
creating a carbon nucleus of six protons and six neutrons (2). In this reaction,
all of the heat given off is short-wavelength gamma rays, one of the most
penetrating forms of radiation. Each variety of fusion occurs depending on the
size and age of the star. This will affect core temperature, causing the
corresponding variety of stellar fusion. Now that fusion has been explained,
one can learn how it occurs in the different star types. All stellar bodies
start off as protostars, or concentrations of combusting gases found within
large clouds of dust and various gases. These protostars, under their own
gravity, collapse inward until its core has been heated and compressed ...

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"Fusion." Essayworld.com. May 28, 2008. Accessed November 17, 2017. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Fusion/84354.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 5/28/2008 03:55:00 PM
Category: Science & Nature
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1845
Pages: 7

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