Nuclear fision


To talk about nuclear fission we must also know that nuclear energy is the energy that comes from the nucleus or nucleus of an atom . The bonds that hold the atoms together contain an enormous amount of energy and this energy must be released in order to produce electricity . This energy can be released in two ways: as nuclear fission and nuclear fusion .


What is nuclear fission?

Nuclear fission is a reaction in which a heavy nucleus that is bombarded with neutrons transforms into an unstable nucleus, decomposing into two nuclei that give off a large amount of energy and emit two or three neutrons .

  • What does it consist of
  • Characteristics of nuclear fission
  • Discovery
  • History
  • Process
  • Applications of nuclear fission
  • Advantages of nuclear fission
  • Consequences
  • How it differs from nuclear fusion
  • Importance

What does it consist of

The nuclear fission is a reaction in which the nucleus captures one neutron that is incident dividing in two and can also release during gamma rays and a large amount of energy . When the nucleus that captures the neutron becomes unstable , it splits into lighter fragments, producing greater stability .


Characteristics of nuclear fission

The main characteristics of nuclear fission are the following:

  • It is a nuclear reaction where the nucleus is bombarded with neutrons .
  • In the fission process there is a great release of energy .
  • It occurs the emission of two or three neutrons .
  • When fission interactions with other nuclei are formed and emit new neutrons, in effect it is known by the name of chain reaction .
  • So you can present one chain reaction in nuclear fission is necessary that the sample has a sufficient amount of uranium-235 to capture neutrons.
  • The neutrons produced in the initial stages of the fission process may also affect different nuclei of uranium-235 can produce larger amount of neutrons and so on.
  • It is very important in medical advances and production of energy .
  • This type of energy, in addition to being important and positive in many ways, can also be very difficult to control .


At the end of 1938, during the Second World War , a group of researchers and scientists of German origin from the Berlin institute , which consisted of Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassman, Lisa Meitner and Otto Frisch, managed to make an interpretation of the phenomenon of Nuclear fission through the correct identification of the barium element , as a direct consequence of the cleavage of the uranium nucleus .


The first studies to be done regarding nuclear fission were carried out by Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner finding an element that had an intermediate atomic number in a uranium sample that had previously been bombarded with neutrons . It managed to deduce that when uranium was bombarded with neutrons of the same item, it could capture a neutron and split into several pieces producing large emissions of energy , thereby discovering nuclear fission .


Fission is a nuclear reaction because of what happens in the nucleus of the atom . The process begins when a heavy nucleus splits into two or more smaller nuclei , and some by-products that include free neutrons , photons, and other nucleus fragments such as alpha and beta particles . Fission is also an exothermic process so it releases large amounts of energy . Energy is emitted as gamma radiation and as kinetic energywhich heat the matter that is around the space where fission occurs.

Fission can be generated by various methods, such as bombarding the nucleus of a fissile atom with another particle of the correct energy. The neutron free is absorbed by the core , making it unstable and the unstable core part into two or more pieces: the fission products that include two smaller nuclei , seven free neutrons . The atomic nuclei that result from fission can be different chemical elements, although the most likely result is to find nuclei with half the protons and neutrons. of the original fission atom.

Applications of nuclear fission

There are several applications in which nuclear fission participates. The most destructive are atomic bombs . It can also be used in the generation of electricity when the heat that is produced by a chain reaction is used. It can be used in nuclear reactors to control the energy produced in chain reactions, it is also part of a reactor as a moderating material , a control rod or as a cooling system .

Advantages of nuclear fission

One of the most important advantages of nuclear fission is its use in nuclear reactors since the production of pollutants in the air is avoided , the waste it produces is much lower and can be better controlled . Fission provides a technology well developed, higher productivity and more production of energy also does not produce either dioxide carbon .


Most of the consequences of fission are positive because they can be used in many areas of daily life and also help protect the environment because it does not produce pollutants that could end up in the air. The one negative consequence is basically when it is used in war problems , which can cause many deaths.

How it differs from nuclear fusion

Nuclear fission and fusion are nuclear reactions that release the energy that is stored in the nucleus of the atom , but despite this, they have important differences. Nuclear fission is the separation that occurs in a heavy nucleus into smaller nuclei , while nuclear fusion is the mixture of light nuclei to be able to shape a larger and heavier one .

The nuclear fission process is quite well known and has the advantage that it is not a powerful pollutant so it eliminates the danger of radioactive waste , in the process the energy of matter is transformed by approximately 1% while fusion it needs deuterium to be possible. We can say that fission is a process that occurs naturally , while fusion is a completely artificial process .


Its importance lies in the ability to obtain electrical energy through the fission process and also, because it has been used within the field of nuclear medicine , with the aim of creating effective treatments against some diseases and as a diagnostic method , since it works to efficiently obtain x-rays and imaging.

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