Question about Iron-56 binding

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In summary, it is possible for two 56Fe atoms to fuse together under extreme heat and pressure. However, the resulting fusion product is unstable and quickly decays into other elements. The specific elements formed depend on the conditions and can include Tellurium-112, antimony, tin, indium, and cadmium.
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ProjectFringe
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Is it possible for two 56Fe atoms to fuse together?

As I understand they won't. So what happens when the two atoms undergo extreme heat/pressure? Do they break down into neutrons?
 
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  • #2
What makes you think anything will happen under "extreme heat/pressure"?
Then question is so filled with unstated assumptions that it is virtually impossible to answer.
 
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  • #3
Vanadium 50 said:
What makes you think anything will happen under "extreme heat/pressure"?
Then question is so filled with unstated assumptions that it is virtually impossible to answer.
I read that all matter in the universe, through fission or fusion, will eventually create 'iron stars' comprised of 56Fe, which will then eventually collapse into neutron stars and black holes.
 
  • #4
Extreme heat and pressure have different effects.
Extreme heat favours high entropy - therefore smaller nuclei.
Extreme pressure, that is, high electron chemical potential, favours lower proton fraction... which leads to bigger nuclei.
First reaction for Fe-56 fusion is:
31 Fe-56+22e-=28Ni-62+22νe
This reaction is spontaneous above a certain pressure, below which Fe-56 is stable. Does anyone know the value of that pressure?
 
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  • #5
snorkack said:
Extreme heat and pressure have different effects.
Extreme heat favours high entropy - therefore smaller nuclei.
Extreme pressure, that is, high electron chemical potential, favours lower proton fraction... which leads to bigger nuclei.
First reaction for Fe-56 fusion is:
31 Fe-56+22e-=28Ni-62+22νe
This reaction is spontaneous above a certain pressure, below which Fe-56 is stable. Does anyone know the value of that pressure?
As I understand you are saying that above a certain pressure an atom of Fe-56 does become unstable.
In theory, is going beyond this critical pressure point what causes the collapse of an iron star into a neutron star?
 
  • #6
I know that if one plots binding energy/ nucleon vs nucleon number, 56Fe is at the maximum. In some sense then it is the most "stable"
I don't think the rest of what you say is pretty fanciful. Where did it say (reference please) that the stars will revert to iron stars eventually?
 
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ProjectFringe said:
As I understand you are saying that above a certain pressure an atom of Fe-56 does become unstable.
In theory, is going beyond this critical pressure point what causes the collapse of an iron star into a neutron star?
There are a number of unstable nuclei that form before electron chemical potential is enough to support free neutrons. And one more stable nucleus: Ni-64. Edit: looked up, two stable nuclei, the second is Kr-86. And while I did not find express pressure to which Fe-56 is stable, the density was given: 8 t/cm3.
 
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snorkack said:
There are a number of unstable nuclei that form before electron chemical potential is enough to support free neutrons. And one more stable nucleus: Ni-64. Edit: looked up, two stable nuclei, the second is Kr-86. And while I did not find express pressure to which Fe-56 is stable, the density was given: 8 t/cm3.
Thanks for the info!

So my understanding was that all matter would revert to Fe-56, rather than Ni-62, even though Ni-62 has a higher binding energy. Wikipeida states this as being due to the competition between photodisintegration and alpha capturing during nucleosynthesis.

So does what you are saying mean Ni-64 and Kr-86 have higher binding energies compared to Fe-56 and Ni-62? And is the reason given for the formation of Fe-56 rather than Ni-62, true for Ni-64 and Kr-86 as well?

As I understand, all unbalanced systems reach a point where they start to move back toward a state of equilibrium. I guess my ultimate question is what is the 'highlander' (last man standing) of elements when 'equilibrium of elements' is reached, before reverting to neutrons? Is it Fe-56 or something else, like Ni-64 or Kr-86, as you mentioned?
 
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  • #10
At low pressure, it is Fe-56.
 
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Got it! Thanks again :biggrin:
 
  • #12
Almost certainly we'll get proton decays and a full decay of all baryons long before any obscure "multiple iron nuclei fuse to multiple nickel nuclei" reaction.
ProjectFringe said:
Is it possible for two 56Fe atoms to fuse together?
Yes, if you collide them with sufficient energy. The naive fusion product would be Tellurium-112 (half life 2 minutes), in practice we can expect a few neutrons to fly away, so we get some even more exotic isotopes. Decays will quickly convert it to antimony, tin, indium and then cadmium or something like that.
 
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Related to Question about Iron-56 binding

1. What is Iron-56 binding?

Iron-56 binding refers to the process of combining 56 protons and neutrons to form the nucleus of an iron atom. This specific isotope of iron is known to have the highest binding energy, making it the most stable form of iron.

2. Why is Iron-56 binding significant?

Iron-56 binding is significant because it plays a crucial role in the fusion process of stars. It is also considered a key element in the formation of heavy elements in the universe. Additionally, the high binding energy of Iron-56 makes it a stable and abundant element in the Earth's crust.

3. How is Iron-56 binding studied?

Iron-56 binding is studied through various techniques such as nuclear reactions, mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance. These methods allow scientists to measure the binding energy of Iron-56 and understand its properties and behavior.

4. Can Iron-56 binding be altered?

No, the binding energy of Iron-56 cannot be altered as it is a fundamental property of the nucleus. However, the abundance of Iron-56 can vary in different environments due to nuclear reactions and processes such as fusion and fission.

5. What are the applications of Iron-56 binding?

The applications of Iron-56 binding include its use in nuclear energy, medical imaging, and as a tracer in environmental studies. It is also a key component in the production of steel, which is used in various industries such as construction, transportation, and manufacturing.

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