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Abstract

The mechanism of supernova explosion and properties of neutron stars are uniquely determined by the equation of state of neutron-rich matter. Using a phenomenological equation of state within a thermal model, we study thermodynamic properties of neutron-rich matter. In particular, we investigate chemical (diffusive) and mechanical (isothermal) instabilities of neutron-rich matter and their dependence on the nuclear equation of state. Both instabilities are found to be heavily dependent upon the isospin asymmetry, temperature, and density of neutron-rich matter. We show that the boundary of the chemical instability extends farther out into the density-isospin symmetry plane than that of the mechanical instability. Results of this study provide a useful guide to current experiments exploring properties of neutron-rich matter.

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