1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Thermonuclear runaway

  1. Jan 22, 2012 #1
    Hi everyone,

    Ok this gotta be a very simple question...

    "Calculate the energy released if a 1 solar mass white dwarf undergoes a thermonuclear runaway and converts 0.5 solar masses of carbon (A=12) to iron (A=56)."

    I know I'm supposed to use e=mc², but I would like to know what the reaction actually is.
    We start with 1/2 solar mass of C and get X solar mass of iron. Are we assuming X is 1/2?
    Also aren't we converting lighter atoms to heavier ones? Then how could energy be released in such a process?

    Just a little bit confused. Any help would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2012 #2
    anyone? =/
     
  4. Jan 22, 2012 #3
    Light atoms fuse and so you have fewer of them as heavier fused atoms. (I can hear you slapping your forehead).
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook