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Nuclear Fusion
Atomic reaction in which smaller nuclei fuse together to form larger ones, releasing energy in the process. Because the resultant nucleus is smaller in mass than the sum of the ones that made it; the difference in mass is converted into energy by the equation E=mc2.

Suns are powered by nuclear fusion, mostly converting hydrogen into helium. In this process, 4 hydrogen nuclei combine to form a single helium nucleus; about 0.3% of the original mass is converted into energy.

Nuclear fusion is an important power source on many worlds, especially newly developed ones, and in small military vehicles. Although sometimes used on interplanetary ships it is usually supplanted by amat or conversion technology (for ships). Some settled worlds prefer renewable energy sources like wind or solar energy instead of nuclear fusion.
 
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    Power generation through the release of heat through a controlled nuclear fusion reaction. The hot plasma is confined in a magnetic bottle. Dedicated expert systems and subturing computers are required to ensure that the magnetic bottle remains at exactly the right charge to safely hold the plasma. Fusion generation is a widely relied upon power source throughout much of the galaxy, both to power large vehicles and settlements. Although not as efficient as amat, it is considerably safer, since there is no need to store amat and a magnetic failure means the hot plasma disperses causing only minor local damage.
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    The process whereby the nucleus of an unstable (radioactive) heavy element spontaneously splits into two smaller nuclei, releasing energy and charged particles.
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    The study of the physical processes at the scale of the atomic nucleus. Concerns itself with the structure and behavior of the atomic nucleus according quantum mechanics and particle physics; with practical applications in the working of nuclear reactors, radioactive fission, and fusion burning in the interior of stars.
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    A self-perpetuating chain reaction involving the production of heavy nuclei from the fusion of lighter ones, or lighter nuclei from the fission of heavier ones.
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    The production of new elements that occurs naturally in stars via nuclear reactions, and in supernova explosions. Nucleosynthesis is also an important part of alchemics.
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    The era following the Leptonic Era, between 1 second and 1,000 seconds after the Big Bang, in which light elements (helium and deuterium) are synthesized during the hot early phases of the hot Big Bang.
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    One of the two basic elementary particles found the atomic nucleus, the other being the neutron. It has a positive charge equal and opposite that of the electron, and a mass similar to the neutron. Protons have a mass of 1.007276 daltons, or 1.6726 = 10-27 kg.
  • Proton-Proton Chain - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A series of three thermonuclear reactions that convert hydrogen nuclei to helium nuclei, converting a tiny amount of mass into energy. The process is efficient at temperatures above 10,000,000 K. In most less massive stars, this chain is the primary source of heat and radiation. The proton-proton chain converts hydrogen into helium releasing energy in the form of particles and gamma-rays. Hydrogen is converted into helium in a chain of reactions. The first reaction takes an average of 1 billion years to occur while the others are much shorter. Generally there are so many hydrogen nuclei that the 1 billion year waiting period does not stop it from producing tremendous radiation.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 29 October 2001.

 
 
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