|If a cloud of hydrogen and helium were squeezed
together until it heated to a temperature of about
10 million °C, what would happened?|
|Question Date: 2016-01-20|
At 10 million °C, nothing much. Increase the
temperature to about 14 million °C, though, and
the hydrogen will start to fuse to become helium.
This generates so much energy that, depending on
what is doing the squeezing, the resulting cloud
may not be able to contain itself and expand
explosively. (e.g., if it is gravity doing the
squeezing, then what you get is a star, but if
it's another explosion doing the squeezing, then
it's a hydrogen bomb).
What a specific question! I have to start this
answer with a disclaimer: I do not consider myself
an expert in high-pressure, high-temperature
systems. These conditions are so far from anything
we deal with on a daily basis that the intuition
of a typical scientist could easily be wrong. I
have an idea of where you would go to find an
expert: an astrophysicist would know the chemistry
of stars, which likely contain the exact system
you are asking about, or even a geophysicist (that
studies the high-temperature, high-pressure
conditions in the center of the earth) might know.
If you need a definitive answer, I would consult
someone that spends their whole career working in
such an area.
As a non-expert, I offer my educated guess.
Assuming the hydrogen and helium is squeezed
together to a high enough pressure, the conditions
probably match those of a star, so you might
create a star. But the temperature and pressure
you would need to do that is probably unrealistic
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