Chapter

Crunch

Louis A. Girifalco

in The Universal Force

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199228966
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711183 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228966.003.0018
 Crunch

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Under the influence of its own gravity, a large body will collapse until the gravitational force is balanced by the internal pressure. For large mass, the gravitational force is so great that atoms are broken into free electrons and nuclei, the pressure of atoms cannot hold back gravity, and the result is a white dwarf star. For an even larger mass, the electrons and protons combine, leaving only neutrons. The white dwarfs were extremely dense, reaching densities of millions of grams per cubic centimeter. Neutron stars were even denser and, for very large masses, a star ultimately collapses into a black hole.

Keywords: white dwarf; neutron star; black hole; gravitational force; free electrons; nuclei; density

Chapter.  5886 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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