Simulation shows nuclear pasta 10 billion times harder to break than steel

September 18, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org report
Neutron star. Credit: NASA

A trio of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. and Canada has found evidence that suggests nuclear material beneath the surface of neutron stars may be the strongest material in the universe. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, M. E. Caplan, A. S. Schneider, and C. J. Horowitz describe their neutron star simulation and what it showed.

Prior research has shown that when reach a certain age, they explode and collapse into a mass of neutrons; hence the name star. And because they lose their neutrinos, become extremely densely packed. Prior research has also found evidence that suggests the surface of such stars is so dense that the material would be incredibly strong. In this new effort, the researchers report evidence suggesting that the material just below the surface is even stronger.

Astrophysicists have theorized that as a neutron star settles into its new configuration, densely packed neutrons are pushed and pulled in different ways, resulting in formation of various shapes below the . Many of the theorized shapes take on the names of pasta, because of the similarities. Some have been named gnocchi, for example, others spaghetti or lasagna. Caplan, Schneider and Horowitz wondered about the density of these formations—would they be denser and thus stronger even than material on the crust? To find out, they created some computer simulations.

The simulations showed that the nuclear pasta was, indeed, stronger than the material on the crust. The simulations also showed that such formations are likely the strongest material in the entire universe. They showed, for example, that they are 10 billion times stronger than steel. But that is not the end of the story. The simulations also backed up another theory that suggests neutron stars could be generating ripples in the fabric of spacetime due to their strong gravitational pull. The theorized rippling effect is due to the irregular formation of the nuclear pasta. This means that neutron stars could be emitting gravitational waves that could someday be observed by super-sensitive equipment here on Earth.

Explore further: A better way to model stellar explosions

More information: Elasticity of nuclear pasta, Physical Review Letters (2018). journals.aps.org/prl/accepted/ … 708d692a5b0747353591
arxiv.org/abs/1807.02557

Press release

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25 comments

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dirk_bruere
2 / 5 (4) Sep 18, 2018
In other words, weight for weight, much weaker than steel
Gigel
5 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2018
In other words, weight for weight, much weaker than steel

Not necessarily. Since this refers to the crust, for which the article gives a density at the base of 10^14 times that of water, it follows that weight for weight the strength is comparable to that of steel. Or in other words it would have a similar sound velocity to that of steel. Which is weird.
Gordon_Jenkins
1.5 / 5 (17) Sep 18, 2018
Authors also have articles about "waffles" and "parking garages"? Is this a cry for funding because the authors are forced to "dumpster dive" for scraps in garage dumpsters? Is ALL science funding being siphoned into the "climate-gate", "Ponzi scheme" of the "global warming" dogma? Is it time to defund climate-gate and kick-start science to make science great again?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.8 / 5 (6) Sep 18, 2018
Why is why Mjolnir is forged by Dwarven blacksmiths, and is composed of the Asgardian metal uru... taken from the core of a dying star.
Parsec
not rated yet Sep 18, 2018
Why is why Mjolnir is forged by Dwarven blacksmiths, and is composed of the Asgardian metal uru... taken from the core of a dying star.


I love your imagination.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Sep 18, 2018
I thought it was my eye(s) that you adore
https://youtu.be/8_kUrK0qYcU
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (12) Sep 18, 2018
"We have to learn again that science without contact with experiments is an enterprise which is likely to go completely astray into imaginary conjecture." Hannes Alfvén

See above article about imaginary conjecture. The plasma ignoramuses play their computer games and pontificate fanciful about that which violate many known physical restraints. The sad things are people drink the Kool-aid and the plasma ignoramuses get away with it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2018
"We have to learn again that science without contact with experiments is an enterprise which is likely to go completely astray into imaginary conjecture." Hannes Alfvén
"With great power comes great responsibility." Nikola Tesla
kidrock75
1 / 5 (3) Sep 18, 2018
10 billion times as strong and 10 billion times as heavy, duh!!!! where's the difference?
HannaB
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 18, 2018
Simulation shows nuclear pasta 10 billion times harder to break than steel
Wasn't the interior of neutron stars supposed to be of superfluid? I'd rather say, the physicists have no clue and they're just spewing BS...
Zzzzzzzz
2.6 / 5 (7) Sep 18, 2018
Authors also have articles about "waffles" and "parking garages"? Is this a cry for funding because the authors are forced to "dumpster dive" for scraps in garage dumpsters? Is ALL science funding being siphoned into the "climate-gate", "Ponzi scheme" of the "global warming" dogma? Is it time to defund climate-gate and kick-start science to make science great again?


Dam, more fecal regurgitation? Call shit eaters anonymous.
big_hairy_jimbo
5 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2018
If Neutron Stars are generating gravitational waves, then are they radiating away energy? What is left once a Neutron Star reaches "ground state"? Does this process even reach a ground state or does the Neutron Star evaporate away, perhaps spontaneously collapsing into a Black Hole?
howhot3
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 18, 2018
Fascinating article. Probably one of the more interesting things that one could imagine of a neutron star is the fact that light does not interact with neutrons except in the extreme x-ray. So if you were on a spaceship and you dared to approach the star you would probably see something that looks very much like a glowing Dimond. It would be transparent but it would also have thermal energy that may reach into the blue Spectrum. Based on the blackbody radiation emitted that would be the color of the star. But anyway it is a really cool story.
I_Jordan
5 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2018
Clarification to first two posters--i computer a higher strength to mass ratio. The paper abstract states a shear modulus ~ 10^30 ergs/cm^3. Converting, yields a strength/mass ratio of ~ 100 times steel. That is also consistent with expectations from the "breaking strain" ratio the authors quote of ~0.1.

On a neutron star, if other relevant strength measure scale accordingly for this sort-of polycrystalline material, it would not produce impressively tall structures if used as a building material in-situ (compared to what can be assembled in lower-gee environs) because the surface gravity approaches 10^12 gees.
I_Jordan
5 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2018

With regard to Jimbo's question, yes, some gravitational energy could be radiated away during formation of the new, denser microscopic domains. I'm not sure how the neutron star could 'evaporate', but the material's formation does suggest that one gets a crystallization of the material. As more of these form over time, microscopic voids might accumulate and porosity could increase. Eventually, one could imagine, the porosity of the structure becomes so great that a region becomes too weak to support the overlying mass, and it could catastrophically fracture, possibly in a cascade. Such an event might be the source of 'starquakes' where the crustal collapse may produce a small rotational frequency increase (also known as a 'glitch'). I assume someone may have computed the relative magnitudes and spectra of the gravitational wave signatures for each of these different phenomenon .... The authors' research is feedstock for models to compare real glitches with pasta properties.
I_Jordan
5 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2018
Simulation shows nuclear pasta 10 billion times harder to break than steel
Wasn't the interior of neutron stars supposed to be of superfluid? I'd rather say, the physicists have no clue and they're just spewing BS...


Neutron star interiors have a wide dynamic range of conditions and properties. E.g., the range of densities is far greater than in/on a planet. The pasta phase referred to is in part of the subsurface crust.

Perhaps physicists have no clue, but those who do not apply such tools criticize from a position of weakness. Calculation and careful thought are at the heart of constraining the unknown, and this extreme environment is something that requires imagination mixed with those tools.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
2.8 / 5 (6) Sep 19, 2018
Authors also have articles about "waffles" and "parking garages"? Is this a cry for funding because the authors are forced to "dumpster dive" for scraps in garage dumpsters? Is ALL science funding being siphoned into the "climate-gate", "Ponzi scheme" of the "global warming" dogma? Is it time to defund climate-gate and kick-start science to make science great again?

says GordonJ

You must have hit a nerve with your comment and howhot3 felt the pain.
:)
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3.2 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2018
Simulation shows nuclear pasta 10 billion times harder to break than steel
Wasn't the interior of neutron stars supposed to be of superfluid? I'd rather say, the physicists have no clue and they're just spewing BS...


Neutron star interiors have a wide dynamic range of conditions and properties. E.g., the range of densities is far greater than in/on a planet. The pasta phase referred to is in part of the subsurface crust.

Perhaps physicists have no clue, but those who do not apply such tools criticize from a position of weakness. Calculation and careful thought are at the heart of constraining the unknown, and this extreme environment is something that requires imagination mixed with those tools.

says I_Jordan

A pasta-like sub-surface crust might be in keeping with the proposed crystallisation, IIRC.
Imagination is a good start, but eventually, reality is supposed to set in and, as they say, "the proof is in the pudding".
Gigel
5 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2018
Wasn't the interior of neutron stars supposed

The article is about some nuclear pasta at the base of the crust. The crust has to have some rigidity for starquakes to happen.
Gigel
5 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2018
If Neutron Stars are generating gravitational waves, then are they radiating away energy? What is left once a Neutron Star reaches "ground state"? Does this process even reach a ground state or does the Neutron Star evaporate away, perhaps spontaneously collapsing into a Black Hole?

Good questions. My guess is it goes a similar way as a white dwarf that cools down for a very long time. It won't become a black hole, but a very cold neutron star.
Gorgar
1 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2018
Our simulation of a faerie shows us Leprechauns and Unicorns. Brilliant.
barakn
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2018
Probably one of the more interesting things that one could imagine of a neutron star is the fact that light does not interact with neutrons except in the extreme x-ray. So if you were on a spaceship and you dared to approach the star you would probably see something that looks very much like a glowing Dimond. -howhot3

Horsepucky. The free neutrons in the interior would be shielded from your vision by the strongest and most opaque material possible.
big_hairy_jimbo
5 / 5 (1) Sep 19, 2018
Thank you to those who took the time to think about my question. Much appreciated :-)
Thorium Boy
1 / 5 (1) Sep 21, 2018
General Products made spaceship hulls out of threads of this stuff. Cut the head off a Pearson's Puppeteer.
savvys84
not rated yet Sep 25, 2018
how far below the crust

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