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How to tell if a reaction is fission or fusion?

  1. Feb 10, 2016 #1
    I can't tell the difference between fusion and fission reactions.
    I know alpha decay is when when Hydrogen is one of products and beta decay is when there is an electron but how do you tell the difference between fusion and fission?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2016 #2

    e.bar.goum

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    Alpha decay is when a Helium nucleus (an alpha particle) is produced, not a hydrogen nucleus (a proton).

    Fusion occurs when two nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus -- A+B->C. Fission occurs when one nucleus splits into two lighter nuclei A->B+C.
     
  4. Feb 11, 2016 #3

    mfb

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    There are also reactions like A+B -> C+D, where those two categories don't really fit. But apart from that, just check if you start or end up with a single nucleus.
     
  5. Feb 11, 2016 #4

    e.bar.goum

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    And A+B-> C+D+E. And so on.

    Also, fusion is quite often followed by particle evaporation or by fission, so a lot of the time you'll have A+B->C->D+E
     
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