Learn about Nuclear Reactions Video

Learn about Nuclear Reactions in this educational video from dizzo95.
Read the full transcript »

Female Speaker: In nuclear fission, atoms split and release energy. In nuclear fusion, they combine and release even more energy. Fusion is a nuclear reaction that fuels the suns and stars. When two light atomic nuclei such as deuterium and tritium, each a version of hydrogen, unite to form a heavier nucleus like helium. The bonding process will release energy, but to initiate fusion, the energies of both nuclei have to be raised to temperatures over 1 million degrees. Deuterium is composed of a proton and a neutron, tritium of a proton and twin neutrons. The nuclei are positively charged and naturally repel each other. To overcome that resistance, the nuclei must be energized with extremely high temperatures so that they can collide with force. As temperature increases, so does the kinetic energy of each nucleus. With greater temperatures, each nucleus will move randomly at progressively higher speeds. When the temperature gets high enough, the kinetic energy of the nuclei overcomes the repelling forces and the two collide. The collision of tritium and deuterium yields a helium nucleus composed of two neutrons and two protons and a free neutron, but it also releases a tremendous amount of energy in the form of heat. The sun is a sustained fusion reaction. The challenge for physicists now is to develop sustained controlled fusion as a source of power, like recreating our own sun.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement