Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion are two nuclear phenomena to produce nuclear heat energy. But these two phenomena occur in different conditions and the amount of heat generation is also different in these two phenomena. In this article, we are going to discuss the definition, properties, examples, uses and differences between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion in tabular form.
Contents in this article:
- What is nuclear fission?
- Properties of Nuclear fission
- Examples of nuclear fission
- Uses of Nuclear fission
- What is nuclear fusion?
- Conditions of nuclear fusion
- Examples of Nuclear fusion
- Uses of nuclear fusion
- Difference between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
What is nuclear fission?
Nuclear fission is a nuclear phenomenon in which a heavy nucleus breaks up into two nuclei of almost equal masses (usually in 5:7 ratio) after colliding with a slow neutron. This breaking up of a heavy nucleus occurs after absorbing the energy of that slow neutron.
Properties of Nuclear fission reaction
- A heavy nucleus breaks into two nuclei of almost equal masses.
- In nuclear fission, a neutron of low speed is required to collide with the heavy nucleus to break it into two parts. This breaking up of a heavy nucleus occurs after absorbing the energy of that slow neutron. It cannot absorb the energy of a high-speed neutron because of less interaction time. This is why a slow neutron is used in nuclear fission.
- Nuclear fission is a chain reaction. One can perform several consecutive reactions by using only one neutron. During the first interaction of a neutron and the heavy nucleus, the nucleus breaks into two parts and also creates 3 new neutrons. These three neutrons also take part in another three nuclear fission and produce 9 neutrons after breaking those heavy nuclei. In this cumulative process 1, 3, 9, 27, 81,….. neutrons form in a chain way and these neutrons take part in further nuclear fission reactions. This is why nuclear fission is known as a chain reaction.
- Nuclear fission has uses in producing atom bombs.
Example of nuclear fission reaction
The examples of nuclear fission are as followings –
- 92U235 + 0n1 = 35Br85 + 57La148 + 30n1 + energy
- 92U235 + 0n1 = 35Kr92 + 56Ba141 + 30n1 + energy
Uses of Nuclear fission
- Nuclear fission is the application to produce an atom bomb.
- It also has uses in nuclear reactors to produce electricity.
What is nuclear fusion?
Nuclear fusion is a nuclear phenomenon in which two or more smaller nuclei combine to form a new and heavy nucleus. This is the opposite phenomenon of nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion requires a huge amount of external energy to combine the nuclei.
Conditions for nuclear fusion reaction
There are two main conditions for the nuclear fusion reaction. These are –
- Only the nuclei of light elements like hydrogen and hydrogen-like elements can be used in nuclear fusion. Because two lighter nuclei will exert smaller electrostatic repulsive force. Therefore, to combine these two light nuclei we need relatively smaller external energy. But the huge amount of required energy to combine two heavy nuclei is not possible to generate.
- We need high temperature or heat energy to combine even two lighter nuclei by nuclear fusion process. Now, the source of this huge energy is nuclear fission. Therefore, to get nuclear energy from nuclear fusion, the nuclear fission process has to take place first.
Examples of Nuclear fusion
The source of all energy on Earth is the Sun. The Sun can generate such an amount of energy by the nuclear fusion process on it. In this process, hydrogen atoms combine to form helium atoms and release a huge amount of energy.
Uses of nuclear fusion
- Nuclear fusion is used to produce hydrogen bombs.
- The Sun can supply such a huge amount of light energy only due to the nuclear fusion process inside it.
Difference between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion in tabular form
|SL No.||Nuclear Fission||Nuclear Fusion|
|1.||In this process, a heavy nucleus breaks into two smaller nuclei.||In this process, two lighter nuclei combine into a larger nucleus.|
|2.||A slow neutron is required for nuclear fission.||No neutron is required for nuclear fusion.|
|3.||This is a chain reaction i.e. this process happens repeatedly after the first reaction.||This process is not a chain reaction.|
|4.||Used to produce atom bombs and electricity.||Used to produce hydrogen bombs.|
- Define nuclear fission with example.
- Define nuclear fusion with example.
- Why do we need a low-speed neutron for nuclear fission?
- Why is nuclear fission is called a chain reaction?
- What are the conditions for nuclear fusion?
- Why is nuclear fission required before nuclear fusion?
The answers to all of these questions can be found in this article.
This is all from this article. If you have any doubt on this topic you can ask me in the comment section.
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