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Neutronium, Ionization Limit, and Decay Types?

  1. Jan 2, 2012 #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm developing a video game that centers around the creation of atoms. I know that I'll have to suspend reality to some degree to make the game playable, but I also want to be careful not to spread horribly inaccurate misinformation with the game. Actually the idea is to make the game fun, but sneak a little education in there too. ;)

    I've been studying up on atoms and subatomic particles the last few weeks, but still have some questions that I can only find partial answers to, or sometimes even get conflicting answers. I'm hoping I can pick a few brains around here to help clear things up a bit for me.

    Here are a few questions that are nagging at me the most right now:

    1. Can two or more neutrons bond via the strong force? I've gotten conflicting answers to this question. Some say they will bond, but one of the neutrons will beta decay into a proton. Others say they can not bond because of their spin. I'm not sure which answer to believe.

    2. How ionized can an atom become? I assume it can be positively charged all the way to having zero electrons? How negatively charged can it become though? I would think there's a limit to how many electrons each proton could attract. Is there a mathematical expression for an electron to proton limit?

    3. How do you know when alpha decay, positron emission beta decay, or electron capture beta decay will occur? Or maybe I should ask, is there a way to know which one of the these decays is more likely to occur than the other two? As I understand it, these types of decay all occur when there are more protons to neutrons in the nucleus. I imagine alpha decay would be more likely in heavier elements?

    I'd greatly appreciate any possible enlightenment on these subjects.

  2. jcsd
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