# Internal energy loss and momentum conservation question

• MoZeeba
Momentun conservationIn summary, a uranium-238 atom can break up into a thorium-234 atom and an alpha particle with inertias indicated in atomic mass units. The thorium atom recoils with a velocity of -2.6 × 105 m/s. The problem involves determining the amount of internal energy released in the breakup, using equations such as the energy equivalent of the atoms and the principle of momentum conservation. This is a homework problem and should be posted in a homework forum with a proper template and attempt at a solution.
MoZeeba
A uranium-238 atom can break up into a thorium-234 atom and a particle called an alpha particle, α-4. The numbers indicate the inertias of the atoms and the alpha particle in atomic mass units (1 amu = 1.66 × 10−27 kg). When an uranium atom initially at rest breaks up, the thorium atom is observed to recoil with an x component of velocity of -2.6 × 105 m/s. How much of the Uranium atom's internal energy is released in the breakup?

I know that this is an explosive separation problem and that the initial velocities are zero but I'm confused on how to approach this problem.

Hello MoZeeba,
MoZeeba said:
but I'm confused
Clearly. This is obviously homework and should be posted in a homework forum. That has a template:

## The Attempt at a Solution

and the guidelines forbid us to help if the poster shows no attempt at solution. So, please indulge us...

For starters: energy equivalent of U ? Th ? ##\alpha## ?

## 1. What is internal energy loss?

Internal energy loss refers to the decrease in the total energy of a system due to non-mechanical processes, such as friction or heat transfer.

## 2. How does internal energy loss affect momentum conservation?

Internal energy loss does not directly affect momentum conservation, as momentum is a conserved quantity in a closed system. However, it can indirectly affect the motion of objects by dissipating energy and causing changes in velocity.

## 3. Can internal energy loss be completely eliminated?

No, internal energy loss cannot be completely eliminated. It is a natural occurrence in any system and is caused by various factors such as surface roughness and air resistance.

## 4. What are some real-world examples of internal energy loss?

Examples of internal energy loss include the slowing down of a pendulum due to air resistance, the decrease in speed of a rolling ball on a rough surface, and the heat generated by friction when rubbing your hands together.

## 5. How can internal energy loss be minimized?

Internal energy loss can be minimized by reducing the factors that contribute to it, such as using smoother surfaces or lubricants to decrease friction, or designing more streamlined objects to reduce air resistance. However, it cannot be completely eliminated.

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