5.3.4 nuclear fission and fusion

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5.3.4 Nuclear Fission and Fusion. (a) select and use Einstein’s mass–energy equation Δ E = Δ mc 2. Introduction and background. All nuclei want to be (more) stable. Introduction and background. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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5.3.4 Nuclear Fission and FusionStowmarket Physics1(a) select and use Einsteins massenergy equation E = mc2 Stowmarket PhysicsIntroduction and backgroundAll nuclei want to be (more) stableStowmarket PhysicsIntroduction and backgroundElements with a proton (atomic) number greater than 83 are unstable in the sense that they decay naturally. They do so through radioactive emission. There is a way of causing some of the larger nuclei, 238U and 239Pu each with 92 and 94 protons respectively, to split apart into two more stable fragments, forming new nuclei.

This is known as Nuclear Fission.Stowmarket PhysicsNuclear fissionWe induce fission through neutron collision. The neutron is initially absorbed by the nucleus it collides with. This makes it more unstable and it therefore breaks apart often releasing several neutrons which can go on to cause further nuclei to split.

Note Charge is conservedStowmarket PhysicsFission clipStowmarket PhysicsNuclear fissionStowmarket PhysicsNuclear fissionStowmarket PhysicsNuclear fissionStowmarket PhysicsFusionAll nuclei want to be (more) stable

Nuclei of very low mass can also become more stable by joining together to make more massive nuclei.

H + H He

H + H H + H21112322111113Stowmarket PhysicsWhere does the energy come from?Nucleons are held together by the strong, nuclear force.To remove a nucleon from a nucleus, work has to be done against this attractive force. As work is done, the potential energy of the nucleon increases. This is similar to doing work against gravity.The total energy required or work done is said to be the binding energy of the nucleon. In other words, the energy by which it was originally bound to the nucleus.Stowmarket PhysicsWhere does the energy come from?The lower the potential energy of a nucleus, the greater its binding energy. Similarly the lower a rocket is in the Earths gravitational field, the greater the energy needed in order for it to escape.

Nuclear interactions do not obey normal, (classical mechanics), laws of conservation of energy and mass as it is possible for energy to be converted into mass and vice-versa.Stowmarket PhysicsEinsteins mass-energy equation E = mc2


E = Energy (J)m = Mass (kg)c = Speed of light (ms-1)Stowmarket PhysicsExample 1Particles A and B interact to make particles C and D.

A + BC + D

If the measured mass of A added to that of B is greater than the measured mass of C added to that of D;

mA + mB > mC + mD

then the missing mass on the right hand side turned into energy in the interaction and was released.Stowmarket PhysicsExample 1The energy released also represents the overall increase in the binding energy of the two new particles.Stowmarket PhysicsExample 2Particles A and B interact to make particles C and D.

A + BC + D

If the measured mass of A added to that of B is less than the measured mass of C added to that of D;

mA + mB < mC + mD

then the missing mass on the left hand side is the energy required to make the interaction take place.Stowmarket PhysicsExample 2This missing mass or mass deficit in nuclear interactions allows us to determine either the energy released or required by an interactionStowmarket PhysicsHow is this calculated? E = mc2


E = Energy (J)m = deficit or missing Mass (kg)c = Speed of light (ms-1)

Stowmarket PhysicsUnitsUse (kg) and (J) in E = mc2

However, as the energy released during nuclear reactions or processes is so small, it is often quoted in eV.

1eV 1.610-19J

It is similar with the masses involved. They are often quoted in unified atomic mass units. Carbon 12 has a mass of 12u

1u 1.66110-27kgStowmarket PhysicsUnitsAs mass and energy are interchangeable on this level we can say that;

1u 1.6610-27kg 931MeV 1.4910-10JStowmarket PhysicsWorked Example H + H He + n + energy

Measured mass of H = 2.015uMeasured mass of LHS = 2 x 2.015u = 4.030u

Measured mass of He = 3.017u and n = 1.009uMeasured mass of RHS = 4.026u

RHS mass deficit of 0.004u, therefore 3.7MeV of energy produced in this interaction.21232110Stowmarket PhysicsQuestionDATA; all masses are measured.

He = 4.001506u, p = 1.007276u, n = 1.008665u

a.) Calculate the energy (in eV and J) released when an alpha particle is constructed.

b.) Does this represent the binding energy of an alpha particle?241110Stowmarket PhysicsAnswersa.) 28.3MeV and 4.53x10-12J

b.) YesStowmarket PhysicsMass deficitThe Binding energy of any nucleus can be calculated in the same way. The missing mass, the difference between the mass of the nucleus and that of the free nucleons is called the mass deficit.

Stowmarket PhysicsBinding energy per nucleonIf we divide the binding energy of a nucleus by the number of nucleons it contains, we have calculated the average binding energy per nucleon B.

A graph of B against nucleon number is one of the most important in nuclear physics.

Stowmarket PhysicsBinding energy graph

Stowmarket PhysicsFusion clipStowmarket Physics


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