Main Question or Discussion Point
i've always wondered how the split the uranium atom to creat a chain reaction in a nuclear bomb
The process is fission, and basically the binding energy of fission products is greater than that of the U-236 nucleus formed when U-235 absorbs a neutron.i've always wondered how the split the uranium atom to creat a chain reaction in a nuclear bomb
This isn't completely accurate:When the U-235 nucleus splits it gives off two neutrons that can split two more nuclei, but when U-238 (more than 99 percent of the naturally-occurring U atoms) splits it doesn't give off any neutrons. So most of the technical problems in developing the bomb were figuring out how to separate the material atom-by-atom and obtain a chunk of pure U-235. Once you have that, if it's a large enough sample that most of the spontaneously released neutrons will be internal and not near the surface, it's easy to get a chain reaction. Just put two separated pieces of the material together to make the total mass enough, at the moment when you want it to be enough, and it will explode.
The process of splitting the atom has been described as, "simply putting more energy in one place then can theoretically been there." Some reactions are caused (in some bombs) by placing two half-spheres of uranium at opposite ends of the tube with no air in it. And an explosive charge at one end of the two fires one of these hemispheres down the tube, like a bullet down the barrel of the gun. This is called the "uranium gun" type of bomb. Where the two hemispheres slam into each other, a great deal of energy is concentrated, as heat. If you think of the uranium atoms as bags for holding energy, this is like over stuffing those bags till they burst.i've always wondered how the split the uranium atom to creat a chain reaction in a nuclear bomb