Calculating energy in fusion

by frazzle96
Tags: binding energy, coursework, energy, fusion, nuclear fusion
frazzle96 is offline
Nov3-13, 10:01 AM
P: 5

I'm doing some coursework on nuclear fusion, and am trying to calculate the energy released by fusing a tritium and a deuterium atom together. I used the equation:

( Σ mass (reactants) - Σ mass (products) ) x 931.5 MeV/amu = Binding energy.

and Deuterium + Tritium = Helium + neutron

I know the value should be about 17.58 MeV, however when I did it it came out as about 18.1.

The values I used are Triton: 3.0160492u , Deuteron: 2.0135532u , Helium nucleus: 4.0015061u and a neutron: 1.0086649u.

Thanks in advance

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Bill_K is online now
Nov3-13, 10:09 AM
Sci Advisor
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P: 3,863
You're off by about 0.5 MeV, which is the mass of an electron. Are the values you quoted the mass of the atoms or the nuclei?
frazzle96 is offline
Nov3-13, 10:21 AM
P: 5
ah, I think the value I used for tritium was the atomic mass rather than the mass of the nuclei... thanks very much!

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