How 'Messy' are Fusion Reaction Chains in Stars?

  • #1
Drakkith
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How 'Messy' are Fusion Reaction Chains in Stars?
When looking up stellar nucleosynthesis and the various reactions that occur inside stars, I often see very straightforward reaction chains, such as this one for the Silicon burning process (isotope numbers and such left out):

##Si + He \to S##
##S + He \to Ar##
##Ar + He \to Ca##

And so forth down to Iron fusing with helium to make Nickel.

But surely this entire chain is MUCH more complicated ('messy'), right? I assume there are various side chains along with photodisintegration happening all along the main chain. Does anyone have any good references that go into a little more detail about this?
 
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  • #2
I think there's a problem involving this in Clayton. As I recall, it was...messy.
 
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  • #3
I fear It’s considerably more complicated and involved as even wiki will tell you. A quick search on arXiv using just the words “solar fusion” opens up an entire goldmine of info.

Happy reading. :)
 
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  • #4
Fundamentally, it's the same kind of coupled DE that we all leaned not know and love with the "tanks of brine" problems. I think the issues are a) an analytic solution is not very enlightening, and b) a real problem is probably attacked numerically anyway.
 
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  • #5
I once asked a scientist doing simulations of stellar fusion in stars which nuclei he included in the simulations. His answer, "All of them".
 
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  • #6
Remember, the stable isotopes for Si are 28Si, 29Si and 30Si, and there are the odd n-capture, and if EM fields are strong enough, photonuclear reactions.
 
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