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Unit 1.3 Nuclear Chemistry. 1.3-2 Nuclear Reactions and Energy. Important Terms. Nuclear Fission Chain Reaction Nuclear Reactor Nuclear Fusion. The Power of the Nucleus. Nuclear reactions involve enormous changes in energy. E=mc 2 E – energy m – mass

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unit 1 3 nuclear chemistry

Unit 1.3Nuclear Chemistry

1.3-2 Nuclear Reactions and Energy

important terms
Important Terms
  • Nuclear Fission
  • Chain Reaction
  • Nuclear Reactor
  • Nuclear Fusion
the power of the nucleus
The Power of the Nucleus
  • Nuclear reactions involve enormous changes in energy.


    • E – energy
    • m – mass
    • c – speed of light (3.00 x 108 m/s)
  • During a nuclear reaction a small amount of mass can be converted into a large amount of energy.
nuclear fission
Nuclear Fission
  • Nuclear fission is the process of splitting a nucleus into two or more smaller fragments.
    • This is accompanied by a large release of energy.
nuclear fission using uranium 235
Nuclear Fission Using Uranium-235
  • Note that the sums of the mass numbers on the left and right are equal.
nuclear fission1
Nuclear Fission
  • As WWII started scientists were trying to find a way to sustain nuclear fission in a chain reaction.
    • A chain reaction is a continuing series of reactions in which each produces a product that can react again.
nuclear fission2
Nuclear Fission
  • In the fission of uranium, each neutron produced has the potential to cause the fission of another atom of uranium-235.
      • In order for a chain reaction to occur there must be enough of a sample of the material for the neutrons to collide with other atoms.
nuclear fission3
Nuclear Fission
  • Critical Mass: the point where the chain reaction can become self-sustaining is referred to as critical mass
  • Supercritical mass
    • If the amount of fissionable material is much greater than the critical mass the chain reaction escalates out of control and an explosion results.
nuclear fission supercritical
Nuclear Fission – Supercritical
  • All of the energy is released at once.
  • This is what happens when an atomic bomb explodes.
nuclear fission and nuclear energy
Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Energy
  • In order for nuclear energy to be useful the reaction must be controlled so that the energy can be released slowly.
nuclear fission4
Nuclear Fission
  • Nuclear power plants generate electrical energy through the controlled fission of uranium.
    • This is done in a nuclear reactor
      • A nuclear reactor is a device that is used to extract energy from radioactive fuel.
nuclear reactors and pollution
Nuclear Reactors and Pollution
  • Nuclear reactors do not produce CO2 and other pollutants.
  • They do produce radioactive waste that is difficult to safely dispose of.
    • New technologies allow much of the waste to be decayed, reducing the amount of hazardous waste produced.
    • There is some risk of the

release of this nuclear

waste into the


nuclear fission problems with nuclear reactors
Nuclear Fission: Problems with Nuclear Reactors
  • Nuclear energy costs more to produce than energy produced through the burning of fossil fuels.
  • It is more expensive than using fossil fuels
nuclear fusion
Nuclear Fusion
  • Nuclear fusion is the process of combining two or more nuclei to form a larger nucleus.
    • Nuclear fusion is the process that occurs in the sun and other stars to produce energy.
  • Nuclear Fusion…Hydrogen to Helium
nuclear fusion1
Nuclear Fusion
  • The fusion of hydrogen to produce helium produces 20x more energy than the fissionof the same amount of uranium.
    • It does not produce any radioactive waste.
    • Fusion reactions are easier to control than fission reaction.
problems with nuclear fusion
Problems with Nuclear Fusion
  • Difficulty initiating and containing a fusion reaction has prevented its use as a practical energy source.
    • Nuclear fusion reactions require a large amount ofenergy to start the fusion reaction.
    • In order to initiate a fusion reaction on earth a temperature greater than 100million Kelvins would be required.
  • No material exists on earth that could contain the reaction.
  • A great goal for the future!!!