Nuclear Fission

  • #1
kirsten_2009
137
2

Homework Statement


A neutron strikes a Plutonium-239 (239Pu) nucleus and creates Barium-142 (142Ba). What other element is created?

Homework Equations




The Attempt at a Solution



I actually have no idea...could someone just start me off? Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
14,189
8,171
Look up plutonium and its proton count and similarly for barium then use your powers of deduction.

Show us your thought process to get your answer.
 
  • #3
kirsten_2009
137
2
since there is a difference of 38 protons that are "missing" would it be Strontium that is also created?
 
  • #4
Borek
Mentor
29,167
3,843
Yes.

Number of nucleons is conserved. You have to have the same number of protons and the same number of neutrons on both sides of the reaction equation. This is not different from balancing chemical reaction (just then you conserve number of atoms and charge, which is actually applying the same conservation principles).
 
  • #5
kirsten_2009
137
2
Got it! Thank you =)
 
  • #6
kirsten_2009
137
2
Sorry, one last question. Would it be Strontium-97 since that is the difference between 239 and 142?
 
  • #7
Borek
Mentor
29,167
3,843
Yes and no. Yes - you are right about accounting, number of neutrons after the reaction must equal number of neutrons after the reaction. No - reaction was initiated by an additional neutron, so you should take it into account as well, plus, in such reactions free neutrons are produced (and they further break more nuclei, which is why we call it a chain reaction), and these have to be accounted for too.
 

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