Nuclear Physics
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Nuclear Physics. Selected Topics 4 – Nuclear Reactions. The structure of nuclei can be changed by bombarding them with energetic particles. The changes are called nuclear reactions. As with nuclear decays, the atomic numbers and mass numbers must balance on both sides of the equation.

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Nuclear Physics

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Nuclear physics

Nuclear Physics

Selected Topics

4 – Nuclear Reactions


Nuclear physics

  • The structure of nuclei can be changed by bombarding them with energetic particles.

    • The changes are called nuclear reactions.

  • As with nuclear decays, the atomic numbers and mass numbers must balance on both sides of the equation.


Nuclear physics

Alpha particle colliding with nitrogen:

Balancing the equation allows for the identification of X:

So the reaction is


Nuclear physics

“Target” particles may be bombarded with

a, neutrons, protons, deuterons, gamma.

General scheme:

a + X  Y + b

Energy released:

Q = (Ma + MX – My – Mb).c2


Nuclear physics

Calculate Q for some reactions.

Dm (in u) = 1.007825 + 7.016003 – (2)(4.002602)

= 1.8624 u = 17.3 meV

This energy is the kinetic energy of the products.


Nuclear physics

Calculate Q for some reactions.

Dm = 1.007825 + 7.016003 – 7.016928 – 1.008665

= -.001765 u = -1.644 meV

The incident particle must have a minimum kinetic energy.

Here, m = 1.007825 u and M = 7.016003 u.


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