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Nuclear Reactions:. AN INTRODUCTION TO FISSION & FUSION. Farley Visitors Center. Introduction. Nuclear reactions deal with interactions between the nuclei of atoms The focus of this presentation are the processes of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

Nuclear Reactions:

AN INTRODUCTION TO FISSION & FUSION

Farley Visitors Center

slide2

Introduction

  • Nuclear reactions deal with interactions between the nuclei of atoms
  • The focus of this presentation are the processes of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
  • Both fission and fusion processes deal with matter and energy
matter and energy
Matter and Energy
  • Previous studies have taught us that “matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed”
  • We now need to understand that Matter and Energy are two forms of the same thing
e mc 2
E = mc2
  • Matter can be changed into Energy
  • Einstein’s formula above tells us how the change occurs
  • In the equation above:

E = Energy

m = Mass

c = Speed of Light (Universal Constant)

Light

Speed

Energy

Mass

e mc 21
E = mc2
  • The equation may be read as follows:

Energy (E) is equal to Mass (m) multiplied by the Speed of Light (c) squared

  • This tells us that a small amount of mass can be converted into a very largeamount of energy because the speed of light (c) is an extremely large number
fission
Fission
  • Fission may be defined as the process of splitting an atomic nucleus into fission fragments
  • The fission fragments are generally in the form of smaller atomic nuclei and neutrons
  • Large amounts of energy are produced by the fission process
fission1
Fission
  • Fissile nuclei are generally heavy atoms with large numbers of nucleons
  • The nuclei of such heavy atoms are struck by neutrons initiating the fission process
  • Fission occurs due to electrostatic repulsion created by large numbers of protons within the nuclei of heavy atoms
slide8

Fission

  • A classic example of a fission reaction is that of U-235:

U-235 + 1 Neutron

2 Neutrons + Kr-92 + Ba-142 + Energy

  • In this example, a stray neutron strikes an atom of U-235. It absorbs the neutron and becomes an unstable atom of U-236. It then undergoes fission. Notice that more neutrons are released in the reaction. These neutrons can strike other U-235 atoms to initiate their fission.
fission2
Fission
  • The fission process is an a natural one as a French researcher found a natural uranium reactor in Gabon, West Africa; it has been estimated to be over 2 billion years old
  • Fission produces large amounts of heat energy and it is this heat that is captured by nuclear power plants to produce electricity
slide10

Fusion

  • Fusion is a nuclear reaction whereby two light atomic nuclei fuse or combine to form a single larger, heavier nucleus
  • The fusion process generates tremendous amounts of energy; refer back to Einstein’s equation
  • For fusion to occur, a large amount of energy is needed to overcome the electrical charges of the nuclei and fuse them together
fusion
Fusion
  • Fusion reactions do not occur naturally on our planet but are the principal type of reaction found in stars
  • The large masses, densities, and high temperatures of stars provide the initial energies needed to fuel fusion reactions
  • The sun fuses hydrogen atoms to produce helium, subatomic particles, and vast amounts of energy
slide12

Review

  • Mass and Energy are two forms of the same thing; neither can be created nor destroyed but mass can be converted into energy (E = mc2)
  • Fission is a nuclear reaction in which a heavy atomic nucleus is split into lighter atomic nuclei
  • Fusion is a nuclear reaction in which 2 light atomic nuclei are combined into a single, heavier atomic nucleus
slide13
Quiz
  • Which nuclear process produces large amounts of energy?

A. Fission

B. Fusion

C. Both fission & fusion

D. Neither fission nor fusion

slide14
Quiz
  • Fission is the process that _________ atomic nuclei.

A. Combines

B. Burns up

C. Stores

D. Splits

slide15
Quiz
  • Mass may be converted into energy.

A. True

B. False

slide16
Quiz
  • The fission process requires heavy atomic nuclei.

A. True

B. False

slide17
Quiz
  • Name a nuclear reaction that occurs within the sun:
slide18
Quiz
  • Fission is a natural process that occurs on the planet Earth.

A. True

B. False

slide19
Quiz
  • Explain this equation:

E = mc2