Chem Paper Nuclear Chem

Chem Paper Nuclear Chem - An Overview of Nuclear Chemistry...

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An Overview of Nuclear Chemistry Chemistry 135 By: 12/13/2006
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Nuclear Fission Nuclear fission is the process in which a heavy nucleus (mass number > 200) divides to form smaller nuclei of intermediate mass and one or more neutrons (Chang pg. 981). One example of a heavy nucleus is uranium-235. The reason that such a heavy nucleus must be used is to form a nuclear chain reaction. Uranium-235 releases more neutrons when fission occurs then what are captured in the process; this fact induces other uranium nuclei to undergo fission creating a nuclear chain reaction. This property of uranium-235 can quickly spiral out of control, releasing tremendous amount of heat. Nuclear chemistry is the science behind today’s nuclear devices, such as nuclear fission reactors, the atomic bomb, nuclear fusion reactors, and the hydrogen bomb. Fission Bombs Nuclear fission is the science behind a nuclear bomb. Two nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing major damage and deadly radiation. The nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima contained critical mass amounts of uranium-235, while the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki contained critical mass amounts of plutonium-239 (Chang pg.982). Critical mass is the minimum mass of fissionable material required to generate a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (Chang pg. 982). The results from both nuclear bombs held equally destructive and deadly force. Nuclear bombs are quite simple. One would take a chunk of sub-critical uranium-235 and put it a distance from a different chunk of sub critical uranium-235. When ready to detonate the nuclear warhead, force one chunk into the other causing it to reach critical mass.
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Nuclear Reactors Nuclear reactors provide electricity by using the heat released from a nuclear fission reaction to create steam, which turns a turbine, which creates electricity. Nuclear fission is the science behind all of today’s nuclear reactors; types of reactors are light water, heavy water, and breeder reactors. Light Water Reactors The fission of uranium-235 produces a tremendous amount of heat, thus causing the splitting neutrons to rip though the nuclei of other uranium-235 at an increasing speed. A slower moving neutron splits through uranium-235 more effectively then a faster moving neutron. To solve the problem of the neutrons speeding up, a moderator is established. A
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