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Calculating energy released during fusion reactions

  1. Mar 6, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A Sun-like star may convert some carbon 12C (nuclear mass 1.998 ×10-26 kg) to oxygen 16O (nuclear mass 2.657 ×10-26 kg) towards the end of its life. Approximately how much energy is released per fusion reaction?

    2. Relevant equations

    c+he = o + energy

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know you have to work out the mass of the energy lost then use e=mc2 to determine the energy in joules but I can't seem to get a correct answer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2013 #2
    It looks to me like you are interpreting the problem as if the extra 2 protons are being created just from energy. I assume in this problem the reaction is a carbon 12 atom combining with an alpha particle to make oxygen. You just have to calculate the difference in mass of the oxygen from the total of the carbon and alpha particle, and that difference in mass should be the difference in binding energy according to e = mc^2.
  4. Mar 6, 2013 #3
    Oh I see! Thankyou so much!!!! I don't suppose you have time to look at my other 2 posts and help me out do you? I'm struggling with applying jeans mass?
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