Does the Sun's composition of hydrogen make it prone to explosion?

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of water electrolysis and the existence of hydrogen. It also touches on the use of hydrogen in the Hindenburg disaster and the potential for the sun to explode due to its massive amount of hydrogen. However, it is explained that the sun is in a stable equilibrium due to the process of nuclear fusion and the lack of oxygen for a chemical explosion. The conversation also addresses the mistake of using hydrogen instead of helium in the Hindenburg and explains the real trigger for the disaster.
  • #1
Nakisima
20
0
I've recreated one of the first experiments I did in Chemistry many times - Water electrolysis to split it into Hydrogen and Oxygen, and prove the existence of hydrogen with a burning splint that goes "pop" in the test tube. The Sun is a massive ball of hydrogen, that uses Nuclear fusion to turn it into Helium. Helium explodes; the Hindenburg proved it, and so does Hydrogen, so why doesn't the sun just explode?
 
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  • #2
Oy.

The Hindenberg was filled with hydrogen, so it exploded when mixed with air (oxygen). Helium is not reactive.

The sun's fusion is at equilibrium. The more energy generated by fusion, the more the sun wants to fly apart, but if it flies apart it doesn't create enough pressure to create fusion. Some stars actually oscillate, expanding and contracting over and over, but in the main sequence they are in a stable equilibrium.
 
  • #3
Nakisima said:
I've recreated one of the first experiments I did in Chemistry many times - Water electrolysis to split it into Hydrogen and Oxygen, and prove the existence of hydrogen with a burning splint that goes "pop" in the test tube. The Sun is a massive ball of hydrogen, that uses Nuclear fusion to turn it into Helium. Helium explodes; the Hindenburg proved it, and so does Hydrogen, so why doesn't the sun just explode?

A chemical explosion of the variety you are referring to is usually caused by something burning very quickly, which requires oxygen. There is only a small amount of oxygen in the sun (in comparison to hydrogen) so it would never actually manage to burn. Not the mention the fact that the sun itself is too hot for molecules to form as any chemical bonds formed would break immediatly. Also the Hindenburg Airship used Hydrogen for buoyancy not Helium, Helium is inert and hence doesn't burn.
 
  • #4
russ_watters said:
Oy.

The Hindenberg was filled with hydrogen

My mistake, history was not my forte.
 
  • #5
Nakisima said:
My mistake, history was not my forte.

Another point of history is that the great big flames from the Hindenberg were from the fabric coating the airship's structure - it was painted with highly flammable aluminum compounds. While the hydrogen did burn, the real trigger for the disaster was ignition of the fabric.
 

1. Why doesn't the sun explode?

The sun doesn't explode because of its balance between gravity and nuclear fusion. The immense gravity of the sun holds all of its gases together, while the continuous fusion reactions release enough energy to counteract the inward pull of gravity.

2. What is nuclear fusion and how does it prevent the sun from exploding?

Nuclear fusion is the process in which hydrogen atoms fuse together to form helium, releasing a tremendous amount of energy in the process. This energy counteracts the force of gravity pulling the sun's gases inward, maintaining its stability.

3. How does gravity keep the sun from exploding?

The sun's gravity is responsible for keeping all of its gases together in a stable state. This immense force of gravity pulls the hydrogen atoms in towards the center of the sun, keeping it from expanding and exploding.

4. Is there a risk of the sun exploding in the future?

No, the sun is not at risk of exploding in the near future. It has been burning for about 4.6 billion years and is expected to continue burning for another 5 billion years before it starts to run out of fuel and undergo changes that could potentially lead to its explosion.

5. How does the size of the sun affect its likelihood of exploding?

The size of the sun is a critical factor in preventing it from exploding. If the sun were smaller, it would not have enough gravity to keep its gases together, and if it were larger, the force of gravity would be too strong, causing it to collapse in on itself and possibly explode. The sun's size is just right to maintain a delicate balance between gravity and nuclear fusion, keeping it stable.

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