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Thread: What Happens to Nitrogen in a Star ??

  1. #1 What Happens to Nitrogen in a Star ?? 
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    Just asking - anyone who REALLY knows Stellar Fusion.

    I know what happens to Hydrogen in a Star - it Fuses to make Helium.

    Yes - and if it is hot enough ( masssive enough ) Helium can Fuse to make Oxygen, Nitrogen, or Carbon.
    Hotter still - and we can get other Elements.

    However - suppose we pour Mega Tonnages of Nitrogen into a Star - what happens to the Nitrogen ??

    Now - I know this is not possible - YET.
    But

    If we can make a Stellar Fusion device - something like a Bussard Ramjet.
    Using stupendously powerful magnetic fields to compress the incoming Gases down to a small diameter -
    which I will call a "Pinch Zone".
    Here - Stellar Fusion will occur.

    If tight enough, Pressure and resulting Temperature - incoming Hydrogen Gas will Fuse to Helium, and if the flow is right - Helium Plasma will come out of the oher end.
    If it was Tighter - higher Pressure and Temperature - then incoming Helium Gas will Fuse to something else, maybe Oxygen.

    Okay - a Stellar Fusion Device, gigantic but with a Pinch Zone of say 10mm diamter - up to truly stupendous ones with a Pinch Zone of 2 Metres. We call these Stellar Converters - because that is what they do, convert one Element into another, using Stellar Fusion.

    Suppose we feed Gigatons of Ammonia into it, at a high enough rate to keep the Fusion continuous.
    We could use the whole Atmosphere of an Ammonia Atmosphere Planet, the size of Earth.
    This is NH3.
    The Hydrogen fuses to Helium - agreed ??
    What happens to the Nitrogen.

    If we use two in series - Hydrogen to Helium, Helium to Oxygen - of course the Output Oxygen Plasma will ignite and BURN with the Ammonia Atmosphere.
    This produces H2O and NO2 - the NO2 breaks down into Nitrogen and Oxygen.
    A perfect Atmosphere Terraforming System.

    However - I now have NO IDEA what has happened to the original Nitrogen in the first Ammonia Input.


    Last edited by Karakris; April 19th, 2013 at 08:05 AM.
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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Not really my field but the link below may be useful, AFAIK in CNO cycles the nitrogen will act as a catalyst for fusion of H to He:

    CNO cycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    (Minor nit-pick ammonia is NH3 not HN3)
    Yes - sorry about NH3 - Corrected.

    From this it seems - Nitrogen will simply become Helium.

    So - if this idea is at all possible ( in Future Tech we assume it is ) - the two-stage Hydrogen - Helium - Oxygen Conversion will not be "disturbed" by the presence of Nitrogen.

    From this Article - Considerable Control is absolutely Essential, in order to actually produce the Oxygen Output required.

    All of the extra Energy generated is the Bonus as well - if it can be captured ( it is assumed that we can ) - then the Stellar Converters will RUN with an actual Net Energy Output, in other words once started we get Free Energy.


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    Forum Bachelors Degree Kerling's Avatar
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    It is somewhat my field. So this is what happens

    First of, many suns are stuffed with nitrogen. And plenty of it for that matter.

    If I'd put ammonia in a fusion reactor I'd have a problem: it would stop thereaction, since it is too cold.
    Only seperated pre-heated plasma can fit into such a reactor. And so it is with the sun, it would first break down NH3 into seperate atoms, then use those for fusion.
    The most likely fusion generally is depending on between which layers it is trapped in. In the stellar case this would be between carbon and oxygen probably, with a significant amount of berylium possibilities.
    In your account, If I were to make plasma out of NH3, then yes N would fuse with either N, or H. Considering the coulomb barrier fusion with H would be the most likely event, the result would be oxygen. It would however take a considerable effort to prevent said oxygen to fuse into higher elements, but I'd say you could get a 80 percent gain or so out of it.
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    Thank You - Kerling.

    Yes - we would be adding the Input substance as a High Temperature Plasma - so, if we can control the Fusion Pressure and Temperature, we coud get Oxygen as an output product.

    There is plenty of Ammonia in the Universe - lots of it as Solids ( Ices ) or Atmospheres of some kinds of Planets -
    Oxygen on the other hand is Necessary for Human Life or Earth Life-Forms -
    As in Bases, Thermadomes, Space Ships, Space Warships, Agri Thermadomes, and even for Atmosphere Terraforming.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Kerling's Avatar
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    too bad the size of the reactor would be completely unpracticle
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