In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of two atoms join to form a single atom of a different element. In such a reaction, a fraction of the rest energy of the original atoms is converted to kinetic energy of the reaction products. A fusion reaction that occurs in the Sun converts hydrogen to helium. Since electrons are not involved in the reaction, we focus on the nuclei.
The deuterium nucleus starts out with a kinetic energy of 6.2e-14 joules, and the proton starts out with a kinetic energy of 1.23e-13 joules. The radius of a proton is 0.9e-15 m; assume that if the particles touch, the distance between their centers will be twice that. What will be the total kinetic energy of both particles an instant before they touch?
What is the kinetic energy of the reaction products (helium nucleus plus photon)?
C: Gain of kinetic energy:
What was the gain of kinetic energy in this reaction? (The products have more kinetic energy than the original particles did when they were far apart. How much more?)
D: Fusion as energy source
Kinetic energy can be used to drive motors and do other useful things. If a mole of hydrogen and a mole of deuterium underwent this fusion reaction, how much kinetic energy would be generated?
(For comparison, around 1e6 joules are obtained from burning a mole of gasoline.)
Uel = (9E9) (q1q2) / ( r)
The Attempt at a Solution
used formula: Uel = (9E9) (q1q2) / ( r)
as my formula for kinetic energy