Monday, October 1, 2012

God's marvel of creation, Carbon

Triple-alpha process wikimedia

The making of the amazing stuff ancient Romans called carbo is not at all easy. For example, because it is a medium size star Sun is incapable of producing enough heat to make it. Wikipedia tells
Formation of the carbon atomic nucleus requires

a nearly simultaneous triple collision of alpha particles (helium 4 nuclei) within the core of a giant or supergiant star

which is known as the triple-alpha process,

as the products of further nuclear fusion reactions of helium with hydrogen or another helium nucleus produce lithium-5 and beryllium-8 respectively, both of which are highly unstable and decay almost instantly back into smaller nuclei.

This happens in conditions of
  • temperatures over 100 megakelvin and helium concentration 
  • that the rapid expansion and cooling of the early universe prohibited
and therefore no significant carbon was created during the Big Bang.

  • the interiors of stars in the horizontal branch (of star life-cycle chart)
  • transform three helium nuclei into carbon by means of this triple-alpha process. 

In order to be available for formation of life as we know it,
  • this carbon must then later be scattered into space as dust, in supernova explosions
  • as part of the material which later forms second, third-generation star systems 
  • which have planets accreted from such dust.
The Solar System is one such third-generation star system.

CNO cycle wikimedia

Another of the fusion mechanisms powering stars is the CNO cycle, in which carbon acts as a catalyst to allow the reaction to proceed.

Update December 27 2012

Graphene. Image BBC Science Environment 
Another Space Theology bookmark Graphene 

"Graphene is made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick, and has outstanding mechanical strength and electronic properties.

Manchester University academics Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for demonstrating its properties.

It is hoped that the material will be used in a wide array of industrial and everyday applications."
BBC News - Science and Technology December 27 2012

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