Interactions between Nucleons: Fusion and Dissociation of Nuclei in Stellar Evolution

O. Manuel, C. Bolon, A. Katragada, M. Insall, and G. Bertrand

University of Missouri-Rolla
(Report to the Foundation for Chemical Research, Inc., 06/08/2001)

Abstract: The quadratic relationship between Z/A and M/A in the Cradle of the Nuclides [1] is interpreted in terms of interactions between nucleons, assuming that each nucleon interacts with every other nucleon except itself. Aside from Coulomb effects, the n-n and p-p interactions are equivalent, repulsive, and weaker than the attractive n-p interactions. For most values of A, forces of attraction and repulsion cancel at Z/A approximatly equaling 0.15 and 0.85. Repulsive interactions between like nucleons increase their potential energy in the interior of nuclei by about 10 MeV per nucleon; attractive interactions between unlike nucleons decrease their potential energy by about 20 MeV per nucleon. These forces are weaker in lighter nuclei and may not be observed in interactions between single nucleons. Nuclear stability is produced mostly by the interplay of these forces plus Coulomb repulsion.

First generation stars may derive their energy from fusion, and the collapsed supernova core produced in the terminal, "pile-driven" fusion reactions may serve as the accretion site for second generation stars. The repulsion between neutrons may be the driving force for neutron emission from the collapsed core of the supernova that produced our elements [2-6].