# Nuclear Fusion question

1. Jan 5, 2006

### vincentm

Okay deuterium consists of 1 proton and 1 neutron and tritium consists of 2 protons and 1 neutron, now if one atom of each, smash together that forms an atom of Helium which consists of 2 proton and 2 neutrons, a 3rd neutron is created and released, how does the 3rd neutron come about?

2. Jan 5, 2006

### Staff: Mentor

Tritium has 1 proton and 2 neutrons. (Both deuterium and tritium are isotopes of hydrogen.)

3. Jan 5, 2006

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Supplementing what Doc Al mentioned, He3 consists of 2 protons and 1 neutron, and undergoes an aneutronic (i.e. no neutrons) fusion reaction with D.

d + He3 -> He4 + p

or

(1p, 1n) + (2p, 1n) -> (2p, 2n) + p

Nucleon balance equations, similar to elements (moles) balancing in a chemical equation.

4. Jan 5, 2006

### vincentm

Thank you, also what i notice is that once the helium atom has formed i lose a proton, i guess that is where i gain a neutron?

5. Jan 5, 2006

### Staff: Mentor

When deuterium and tritium fuse, it goes like this:

(1p, 1n) + (1p, 2n) -> (2p, 2n) + n

So you don't "gain" a neutron.

6. Jan 5, 2006

### vincentm

I'm a bit confused now, Astronuc does:

(1p, 1n) + (1p, 2n) -> (2p, 2n) + p

7. Jan 5, 2006

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Doc Al did (1p, 1n) + (1p, 2n) -> (2p, 2n) + n

I did (1p, 1n) + (2p, 1n) -> (2p, 2n) + p

8. Jan 5, 2006

### mathman

You misread Astronuc. He had (2p,1n) (or He3) as the second term going in, not (1p,2n) (or H3 or Tritium nucleus).

9. Jan 5, 2006

### vincentm

I did, sorry about that astro, i just suck at math right now.