Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal


The American Astronomical Society


I present analytic approximations for some issues related to condensation of graphite, TiC, and silicon carbide in oxygen-rich cores of supernovae of Type II. Increased understanding, which mathematical analysis can support, renders researchers more receptive to condensation in O-rich supernova gases. Taking SN 1987A as typical, my first analysis shows why the abundance of CO molecules reaches an early maximum in which free carbon remains more abundant than CO. This analysis clarifies why O-rich gas cannot oxidize C if 56Co radioactivity is as strong as in SN 1987A. My next analysis shows that the CO abundance could be regarded as being in chemical equilibrium if the CO molecule is given an effective binding energy rather than its laboratory dissociation energy. The effective binding energy makes the thermal dissociation rate of CO equal to its radioactive dissociation rate. This preserves possible relevance for the concept of chemical equilibrium. My next analysis shows that the observed abundances of CO and SiO molecules in SN 1987A rule out frequent suggestions that equilibrium condensation of SUNOCONs has occurred following atomic mixing of the He-burning shell with more central zones in such a way as to reproduce roughly the observed spectrum of isotopes in SUNOCONs while preserving C/O > 1. He atoms admixed along with the excess carbon would destroy CO and SiO molecules, leaving their observed abundances unexplained. The final analysis argues that a chemical quasiequilibrium among grains (but not gas) may exist approximately during condensation, so that its computational use is partially justified as a guide to which mineral phases would be stable against reactions with gas. I illustrate this point with quasiequilibrium calculations by Ebel & Grossman that have shown that graphite is stable even when O/C >1 if prominent molecules are justifiably excluded from the calculation of chemical equilibrium.