The Games Nucleons Play
First -- The Neutron Drip Line
This section explores some of the possible ways nucleons can attach to stable nuclei beyond the valley of stability. When examining potential extraneous neutron attachments to stable nuclei what is really being examined is the neutron drip line. Although the numbers will be slightly different but the same holds true for the proton drip line.
From Hydrogen to Lithium
The proton has a flat triangular shape, -- where and how many neutrons can find an attachment point on that structure?
The first two-attachment points are on the top and on the bottom of the proton. These two attachment point are responsible for first deuterium and second tritium.
There are three more potential attachment points. These attachment points only have 2/3 the strength of the capping attachments. Though weaker these points can ever so briefly fit or hold neutrons. However these five points indicate that five neutron are the maximum number of neutrons that can fit or attach directly to a proton.
Thus, the neutron drip line for hydrogen is located at H6
As the nucleus grows eventually these attachment points are used at some point during the building of the hexagonal lattice structure of the nucleus.
Next, Helium which has two protons and two neutrons. There are two capping neutron attachment points one above the top proton and one below the lower proton. There are also two unused attachment points on the edges of each of the two protons. Thus, the total number of unused potential neutron attachment points around the helium4 nucleus is six.
Thus, the neutron drip line for helium is located at He10.
Lithium has three protons and three neutrons. There are three capping attachment points above and below the protons. There are again two unused attachment points on the edges of the two end protons, and one unused edge on the center proton. Thus there are eight unused neutron attachment points around the stable nucleus of lithium6.
Thus the neutron drip line for lithium6 is located at Li14.
Following are four additional neutron drip line points. Three of these points are completion of stages during building of the nuclear core. The fourth is at the completion of the nuclear stage call The Star.
Carbon 12 has 12 additional possible neutron attachment points.
Magnesium 24 has 18 additional possible neutron attachment points.
Argon 36 has 24 additional possible neutron attachment points.
Zinc 66 has 30 additional possible neutron attachment points.
Second -- The Proton Drip Line