What determines the abundance of elements?


by martix
Tags: abundance, determines, elements
martix
martix is offline
#1
Feb6-13, 10:28 PM
P: 128
I was just watching a very particular old documentary, when the question hit me.
I could probably manage an educated guess, but I don't really know what exactly determines how much of a certain element there is(except H and He, those are obvious).
Phys.Org News Partner Chemistry news on Phys.org
Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanes
MRI sensor that enables long-term monitoring of oxygen levels could aid cancer diagnosis, treatment
The anti-inflammatory factory
Borek
Borek is offline
#2
Feb7-13, 03:10 AM
Admin
Borek's Avatar
P: 22,705
What is the source of other elements?
dschlink
dschlink is offline
#3
Feb8-13, 12:12 PM
P: 11
The source of all elements other than hydrogen, helium and some lithium is fusion in aging suns and supernovas. Fusion gets you to iron, but anything heavier is created during supernova explosions. We don't have a handle yet on the exact reactions involved or what controls the abundance, but models are getting better every year.

martix
martix is offline
#4
Feb9-13, 10:33 AM
P: 128

What determines the abundance of elements?


So... basically no answer to that question yet. :)
That's surprising.

I know that supposedly Carbon also gets produced at some point at the end phases of a stars life.

There's also the question why elements like boron or beryllium(4/5) are rarer than say cobalt(first element after iron, which is as far as I know that heaviest exothermally fusing element).
Borek
Borek is offline
#5
Feb9-13, 01:40 PM
Admin
Borek's Avatar
P: 22,705
Actually the answer is here, you just have to think for a moment. My question was not a random one.

It is mainly a matter of the sample history. Metals (in astrophysics sense) are synthesized in stars, when (and if) the star explodes as supernova, they are scattered around, then they are included in the next generation stars, or separated due to the stratification in the gas clouds, and so on. Whatever you observe depends on what happened before.


Register to reply

Related Discussions
light elements abundance in a static toy universe Cosmology 69
Question: Can elements above iron actually be clusters of smaller elements? Atomic, Solid State, Comp. Physics 3
He-4 abundance Astrophysics 2
Kronecker product on only a few elements in a matrix: How to align resulting elements Linear & Abstract Algebra 0