INTRODUCTION TO NUCLEAR REACTION:
The main features of nuclear reactions include radioactive decay, nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.
Energy is released in a radioactive decay in the form of the kinetic energy of the particle emitted (α and β), the kinetic energy of the daughter nucleus and the energy of the gamma-ray photon that may accompany the decay. The energy involved may be calculated by finding the mass defect of the reaction. The energy released is the energy equivalent of the mass defect of the reaction.
Nuclear fission is the process in which a large nucleus breaks into two smaller nuclei that are almost equal in mass. Energy is released during nuclear fission. The earliest nuclear fission was carried out by Cockcroft and Walton, who used fast protons from a linear particle accelerator to bombard lithium nuclei. The energy released is equal to the difference in the binding energy of the products and the binding energy of the nucleus before fission. The energy released is in the form of increased kinetic energy of the product particles and any radiation emitted. The energy released in a nuclear fission is very much larger compared to the energy released in a chemical reaction. Spontaneous natural nuclear fission reactions very rarely occur. Nuclear fission reactions are normally initiated by bombarding the nucleus with slow neutrons or thermal neutrons of low energy of about 10-2 eV.
Nuclear fusion is the process in which two light nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus. The total masses of the products are less than the combined mass of the two light nuclei. The energy equivalent of the loss of mass is released. The release of energy during nuclear fusion can also be calculated from the values of the binding energy per nucleon of the light nucleus and that of the proton. When fusion of two light...