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I Internal energy loss and momentum conservation question

  1. Jun 3, 2016 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2016 #2


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    Hello MoZeeba, :welcome:
    Clearly. This is obviously homework and should be posted in a homework forum. That has a template:

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    2. Relevant equations

    3. 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## ?
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