Lect14 -- Nuclear Principles

Why doesnt fission work with other elements cant we

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Unformatted text preview: epresent just one pair of many potential outcomes, often used to illustrate 235U fission •  Note release of “extra neutrons” at the end Why uranium? Why doesn’t fission “work” with other elements? Can’t we force other isotopes to break apart? Turns out that you would actually lose energy in splitting lighter nuclei Iron is about the most tightly bound of the nuclides… and it’s the release of binding energy that we harvest, so we want to drive toward iron to get the most out Binding energy per nucleon (proton+neutron) Iron (Fe) is at the binding energy peak •  on the heavy side of iron, fission delivers energy •  on the lighter side of iron, fusion delivers energy Fission vs. Fusion: DO NOT CONFUSE! Fission – split heavy atom nucleus into smaller parts Fusion – light nuclei join to form heavier nucleon Spring 2013 16 The “fissile” nuclides “Fissile”: able to undergo fission by slow neutron There are only three known nuclides (arrangements of protons and neutrons) that undergo fission when introduced to a neutron: 233U: hardly used (hard to get/make) 235U: primary fuel for reactors 239Pu: popular in bombs Others isotopes may split if smacked hard enough by a neutron (o...
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