View Full Version : Surplus/Deficit of neutrons in a stellar body?

2007-Oct-10, 05:04 AM
Whatever the mechanism for deciding the proportions of electrons, neutrons, and protons in our universe, does it stand to reason that these proportions may not be such that all matter contained in a star (protons, neutrons, electrons) will find a partner to create an element?

If the answer to the first question is that all the matter will combine up to make elements of the periodic table with nothing left over through some mechanism which I'm unfamiliar, then the rest following is of no importance.

Assume that we know exactly what elements a star will be composed of at the time of supernova. Also, assume we know what the proportions of these elements are realitive to one another. Then we can look at the periodic table
and come up with a range of how many neutrons can be combined up to produce stable atomic nuclei and maybe we can refine that range based statistically on what we observe to be the most common isotopes.

Take this range and calculate the number of neutrons combined up into the supernova's atomic neuclei and the resultant neutron star and end up with a proportion of neutrons to electron/protons.

This seems too simple a solution and I am quite sure there are many nuclear processes that I am unaware of to add to the complexity of this, but could it be that neutron stars, white dwarfs, and black holes are simply the result of an overabundance of neutrons in our universe?

2007-Oct-10, 08:01 AM
No, there is no excess of neutrons. They key bit of knowledge you're missing is the fact that outside of an atomic nucleus, a neutron will naturally decay into a proton, electron, and neutrino within around fifteen minutes.