Iron

Iron has the strongest bound nucleus among all elements.

Up until the discovery of pulsars it was thought that no atomic nucleus can survive the gravitational forces at the core of collapsed stars. It was thought that the remnants of those collapsed cores consist of some electrons, some protons but predominantly neutrons (thus the name neutron stars). However the discovery of radio waves in pulsars means that neutron stars contain rotating iron cores! This means that the iron survived! Today we know that iron has the strongest bound nucleus among all elements.

[Quran 57.25] ... and We sent down Iron, in it great might...

Iron and most of the elements on Earth came from outer space. Iron was known and used long before the Quran however it was not the best choice for weapons because it rusted and it easily bent. The miracle is that the Quran said "in it great might" at a time when they only knew that it rusted and bent. Today we know that iron has the strongest bound nucleus among all elements.

This released energy heats up the inner core and pushes the surrounding shell of gas outwards.Stars start their lives as huge spheres of hydrogen gas. But the pressure at the center of the sphere should be much greater than the pressure at the surface, right? When the pressure at the center reaches a certain level, the hydrogen gas starts fusing together forming heavier helium gas (then all the elements up to iron). This fusion process releases energy. This released energy heats up the inner core and pushes the surrounding shell of gas outwards. But just like when you on Earth throw a ball upwards it has to fall back to you, the outer shell of the star has to fall back to the core. The only difference is that the fusion in the core of the star makes the core denser; that is the same core mass will slowly occupy smaller volume. A smaller core radius and same mass leads to stronger gravitational forces. If the same thing were happening to Earth's radius then every time the ball returns to you it would feel a little bit heavier. A time comes when the ball becomes so heavy that it breaks your arm. But this is what really happens in the core of stars. A time comes when the gravitational forces in the core become so strong that they fuse the electrons with the protons and turn them into neutrons. This breaks down all atoms!

Supernova ejects heavy matter into space. This is the stuff that you are made of.The surrounding outer shell gets ejected in a spectacular explosion called supernova: When those protons in the inner core turn into neutrons, the resulting mass at the core would occupy a fraction of the previous volume, however this time it happens in a few seconds. This sudden collapse of the old inner core and above it the surrounding shell will be brought to an abrupt halt by the new neutron core. This abrupt halt will cause the material to "bounce", producing an outgoing supersonic shock wave, which blasts the outer shell surrounding the neutron core into outer space. This process releases so much energy that it fuses part of the expelled outer shell into all elements heavier than iron. This is what you can see in spectacular supernovae explosions. This is the stuff that you are made of.

Up until the discovery of Pulsars it was thought that no atomic nucleus can survive this gravitational collapse at the core. It was thought that the remnants of those collapsed cores consist of some electrons, some protons but predominantly neutrons (thus the name neutron stars). However the discovery of radio waves in pulsars means that neutron stars contain rotating iron cores! This means that the iron survived! Today we know that iron has the strongest bound nucleus among all elements.

 

 

 

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