elements heavier than oxygen-originate?; "empty space"?

From where do elements heavier than oxygen originate?

Why do we say that materials in our world are mostly "empty space?"

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    According to the Big Bang Theory, at the beginning of the universe, lots of hydrogen was created (around 75% of the normal matter created), some helium (around 25% of the normal matter created) and very trace amounts of lithium and beryllium and maybe boron. All elements higher than this are created by nuclear processes in stars.

    Hydrogen fuses to create Helium and a collision of three Helium nuclei (also known as the triple alpha process) creates carbon 12, the carbon that makes up our bodies and all living things on earth. Carbon-helium fusion makes oxygen. Other kinds of carbon fusion create Sodium, Neon, and Magnesium, and different fusions involving oxygen create sulfur, phosphorus, silicone, and magnesium.

    It's mostly sulfur and silicone after this. (By the way, this only happens in really big stars.) And basically after that, everything between silicone and iron is created by silicone and sulfur "capturing" alpha particles, i.e. helium nuclei. It stops with iron because iron has the most tightly bound nucleus of any atom and is kind of the most stable place to be. Creating anything higher than iron through nuclear fusion would just plain take too much energy.

    So all of the higher elements, like the gold and silver so prized for jewelery, are created through a process of neutron capture. They are either created through the s-process (the slow way) or the r-process (the rapid way). In the s-process, a nucleus catches a neutron, and is unstable, and undergoes nuclear decay to some new stable element. In the r-process, nuclei are getting bombarded with neutrons so quickly that they get bumped up to more stable elements before they have a chance to decay downwards. This only happens in supernovae.

    And the reason we say things are mostly empty space is because there is much more space in atoms than actual stuff. If an atom were enlarged to the size of a football field, the nucleus would be the size of a baseball or softball and electrons would be peas.

    Another reason people might say the universe is mostly empty space is because if you spread out all of the normal matter through the universe...you still have a lot of empty space. It would be something like 3 atoms per cubic meter of space. That's very close to nothing.

  • 1 decade ago

    Elements Heavier than Oxygen Are Created From the Fusion Reactions that Occur in Massive and Hot Stars.

    Materials in our world are mostly Empty Space, Because if You Look at the Bohr Model of an Atom, There Is the nucleus in the center, some electrons scattered about, and the Rest Is Empty Space.

  • 1 decade ago

    Everything heavier than lithium was created by the death throes of stars as they collapse and go super-nova. In those super-hot, super-dense states, every element that we are familiar with: oxygen, gold, iron, uranium, ALL of them were forged by fussion processes.

    For your second question, picture this. You may now that an atom is composed of a central core or "nucleas" of protons and nuetrons jammed together, with a "cloud" or "shell" of electrons around it. If an atom were enlarged to be the size of the Notre' Dame cathedral, its nucleas would be the size of a fly. So individual atoms are mostly empty space. Furthermore, in any material, there is a great deal of spacing between atoms, adding yet more empty space.

    If you condensed all the matter on the earth so that there is no empty space left at all, you would be left with a lump of matter about a centimeter in diameter.

  • jimbob
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Most of an atom - well over 99% - is empty space in which no subatomic particles are present. Therefore, all matter - which is made up of atoms - is also mostly empty space.

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  • 1 decade ago

    elements are created by nuclear fision inside of stars when 2 atoms colide to form larger ones.

  • 1 decade ago

    all elements heavier than hydrogen come from stars

  • 5 years ago

    More like who writes the scripture for Palin? She is pretending she has some prophetic powers.

  • 1 decade ago


    best answer

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