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Fission HTML5


When a heavy nucleus (Uranium, for example) fissions, it splits into two smaller nuclei. Two or three neutrons are also emitted. The sum of the masses of these fragments is less than the original mass. This 'missing' mass has been converted into a large amount of energy according to Einstein's equation E=mc².  When the fissionable material is confined, the emitted neutrons bombard and split other nuclei, provoking a chain reaction, either controlled (as in a nuclear reactor) or uncontrolled (as in an atomic bomb).

Don't confuse fission with fusion.

Learning goals

  • To illustrate the fission process and what a chain reaction is.

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Nuclear fission is the splitting of a heavy atomic nucleus (uranium for example) into two or more lighter nuclei. This reaction results in the release of 2 or 3 neutrons and great amounts of…

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