Proton Proton Chain Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Proton Proton Chain?
The Proton-Proton Chain is a series of nuclear reactions that power stars, including our own Sun. It is the primary source of energy for stars like our Sun that have a mass less than about 1.5 times the mass of the Sun. This reaction chain involves four protons combining to form a helium nucleus plus two neutrinos and gamma rays.The first step in the Proton-Proton Chain is two protons colliding with one another to form a deuterium nucleus, which consists of one proton and one neutron plus an energy release in the form of gamma rays. This reaction occurs at extremely high temperatures due to its relatively low activation energy requirement; temperatures above 10 million Kelvin are required for this step to occur. The second step is when another proton collides with the deuterium nucleus formed from step 1 and forms a helium-3 nucleus, which consists of two protons and one neutron plus an additional gamma ray produced from this reaction as well. The temperature requirements necessary for this step are even higher than those needed for step 1 – typically between 15 million Kelvin and 20 million Kelvin are required for it to occur efficiently enough to power stars such as the Sun. Step 3 occurs when another proton combines with a helium-3 nucleus forming helium-4 (two protons and two neutrons) plus additional gamma rays released as well during this process. Step 4 involves two positrons (the opposites of electrons) being released along with two neutrinos as a result of thermal energy causing electron capture by each remaining helium-4 nucleus; these reactions also release large amounts of energy in the form of gamma radiation which can be observed outside stars like our sun. In summary, the Proton-Proton chain is an important series of nuclear reactions responsible for powering stars like our own sun through four steps involving each successive combination/fusion between protons or between protons & other nuclei such as deuterium or He3; it results in Helium-4 formation plus significant amounts of energy release primarily in terms of gamma rays but also some positron & neutrino emission too.