Physics

Difference between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion

Both are nuclear processes by which atoms are changed to produce energy. The difference between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion is that a heavy nucleus splits into two small nuclei in nuclear fission, while two heavy nuclei combine to form one heavy nucleus in nuclear fusion.

key Differences

  • Both nuclear fission and fusion processes are opposite to each other.
  • Nuclear fission remains confined to lighter nuclei, while nuclear fusion is confined to larger nuclei.
  • Nuclear fission is less expensive, while nuclear fusion is more expensive.
  • Nuclear fission is an exothermic reaction, while nuclear fusion is an endothermic reaction.
  • In a fusion reaction, the energy released is much greater than a fission.
  • A significant amount of energy is released in nuclear fission.
  • The initial elements in the fission reaction have a higher atomic number than the reaction products. For example, uranium breaks down into strontium and krypton.
  • Nuclear fission occurs naturally on earth. For example, spontaneous fission of uranium occurs only when there is sufficient quantity of uranium. Nuclear fusion does not take place. It happens in the stars.
  • The products of the fusion reaction have more neutrons and protons than the initial elements. For example, hydrogen fuses with hydrogen to form helium.

Difference between Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion in Tabular Form

Nuclear Fission Nuclear Fusion
DefinitionThe division of a large atom into two or more small atoms is called nuclear fission.The fusion of two or more small atoms into one large atom is called nuclear fusion.
UseNuclear fission is used in nuclear reactors because it can be controlled.Nuclear fusion is not used to produce energy because it cannot be controlled.
Reaction typeIt’s a chain reactionIt is not a chain reaction
ExampleUranium DivisionThe combination of hydrogen nuclei to form helium nuclei, the hydrogen bomb.
RequirementsHigh temperature is not required to initiate nuclear fission.A very high temperature is required to initiate nuclear fusion.
ProcessIt is produced by bombarding the heavy nucleus with neutrons.It is carried out by heating small nuclei at high temperature. Neutron bombardment is not required.
EtymologyFission means breaking or splitting.Fusion means combination or union

What is nuclear fission?

Albert Einstein’s prediction that mass could be transformed into energy made the division of the nucleus possible. He began experimenting in 1939 and, after a year, Enrico Fermi built a nuclear reactor. Nuclear fission was discovered by German scientists Lise Meitner, Otto Hahn, and Fritz Strassmann.

Nuclear fission takes place when high-speed particles, neutrons, are bombarded onto the unstable isotope. The neutrons accelerate and crash into the fission-causing isotopes and break apart into tiny particles.

During the fission process, a neutron accelerates and hits the target nucleus, which in most nuclear power reactors is uranium. It splits the target nucleus and breaks it down into small isotopes, three high-speed neutrons, and a large amount of energy.

The energy produced is used to heat water in nuclear reactors and generate electricity. The high-speed electrons become projectiles that start other fission reactions called chain reactions.

Radioactive waste is generated as a by-product of the fission reaction, the results of which take thousands of years to lose their dangerous level. Safeguards should be used with nuclear fission reactors for these wastes and their transport for storage.

Radioactive waste is generated as a by-product of the fission reaction, the results of which take thousands of years to lose their dangerous level. Safeguards should be used with nuclear fission reactors for these wastes and their transport for storage.

Radioactive waste is generated as a by-product of the fission reaction, the results of which take thousands of years to lose their dangerous level. Safeguards should be used with nuclear fission reactors for these wastes and their transport for storage.

As its name indicates, nuclear fusion is the type of reaction in which two light nuclei fuse, giving rise to a heavier nucleus , but with a mass slightly less than the sum of the masses of the two nuclei from which has been formed. This difference between the final and initial mass is given off in the form of energy according to the reaction: E = m ยท c 2 .

Which is nuclear fusion?

Fusion occurs when two low-mass isotopes (primarily hydrogen isotopes) combine under extreme temperatures and pressures. The fusion reaction feeds the sun. Tritium and deuterium atoms combine at high temperature and pressure to produce an isotope of neutron and helium.

In addition to this, an enormous amount of energy is released that is much greater than the energy of the fission reaction.

Researchers continue to work on nuclear fission control to make a fusion reactor to produce electricity. Scientists believe that the fusion reaction produces less radioactive materials than the fission reaction, so you have an unlimited supply of fuel that can be used for different opportunities.

But it is difficult to control the reaction in a confined space, so this is a great challenge to use. Nuclear fusion was achieved in the hydrogen bomb reaction for the first time.

Nuclear fission is the opposite reaction to fusion. It is a reaction in which a heavy nucleus , when bombarded by particles , breaks to give rise to lighter nuclei, also generating other reaction products such as subatomic particles and gamma rays.

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