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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353

S. Afr. j. sci. vol.103 n.5-6 Pretoria May./Jun. 2007




Can water burn?



S.A. Rakityansky; J. Dicks

Department of Physics, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, Pretoria 0003, South Africa




We investigate the possibility of a spontaneous collapse of the nuclei constituting the water molecule. We show that, due to a practically exact agreement of the energy of the p + p + 16O threshold and a resonance state of the 18Ne nucleus, the probability of nuclear fusion involvingp+p+ 16O 18Ne*(4.522, 1-) in the rotationally excited H2O molecule is significantly enhanced. The calculation of the fusion probability is performed using a scheme analogous to the linear combination of atomic orbitals (LCAO), well known in the theory of molecules.



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