Astrophysics (Index)About

lithium burning

(any fusion reaction starting with lithium)

Lithium burning is any fusion reaction that starts with lithium (Li). Many stars carry it out near the beginning of their life because the temperature/density requirement is easily met in main sequence stars, and depletes the star of lithium so they subsequently have less than the primordial abundance. It is essentially proton-proton chain fusion: 7L occurs in one of the chains, and any 6L absorbs a proton and decays into 7L. Lithium is evident in brown dwarfs because without hydrogen burning, they are unlikely to undergo lithium burning.

Further reading: