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The nature of nuclear fusion.

  1. Aug 10, 2013 #1
    I have questions regarding nuclear fusion:

    1: Can all atoms fuse, say a hydrogen and carbon atom, could they fuse? or does it need to be the same type of atoms.

    2: Are there any equations that determine the force needed to fuse? I'd think it'd have to do with x and x2 number of protons meet, where the distance where the strong force overtakes the EM force is y, so the force required is equal or more than (x2*x1/y)k, but ofcourse structures in the nucleous and the electrons would complicate this..

    3: Are there any correlations to the stability islands, such as low energy fusions. Whereas some forms of fusions are lower energy, even if the number of protons is higher? I'd assume some atomic structures would allow for easier fusion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2013 #2
    Well all complicated knowledge aside it's basically simple , atoms normally would like to fuse but mother nature wanted to create the universe so she made particles with charge like protons and electrons.
    Further follows the same thing as with magnets and their poles ,respectively the same charges tend to repel but opposite charges attract.
    Now so it happens to be that inside the nucleus there are protons and the more they are there the bigger the total electrostatic repulsion so the higher kinetic energy is required to push them beyond the point where the strong force can take over.

    Basically im not an expert to say would carbon fuse with hydrogen if carbon is in the left side of the nuclear stability chart then probably yes under given conditions.
    But the point of the stability chart is that you can only fuse up to a given number of protons/neutrons in a nucleus any further than that and the nucleus becomes too overcrowded and nuclear fission takes over because the repulsion of the particles making up the nucleus becomes too great for it to stay together any more , remember strong force has it's strength only over a very small distance so electric repulsion takes over as it even being weaker works over larger scales.
  4. Aug 10, 2013 #3


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    Not all pairs of atoms can fuse, the product has to be a possible nucleus. Many pairs are possible.
    That is possible.

    Force is not a useful concept here. Energy is more important.
    Some reactions don't need any energy, but they are very unlikely if the energy is too low. All fusion processes which release energy are in this category.
    Some reactions need a minimal energy, as the product has more mass (and therefore rest-energy) than the two fused particles had.

    Your question 3 jumps so much between different concepts that I have no idea how to reply to it.
  5. Aug 10, 2013 #4
    """I'd assume some atomic structures would allow for easier fusion. """

    Well indeed , that's why their trying with deuterium and tritium , how easy or hard it is depends on the nucleus of different atoms , as I said in earlier post it's due to the forces which are at play and also of the subatomic particles which have these forces ad charges , so some configurations are easier to fuse ad some require much more added energy to make the same thing happen.

    It's like going to the first floor or to the twenty third , both are possible only the latter one requires more sweat and energy.
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