Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Question about nuclear fission

  1. Jan 7, 2017 #1
    I was watching an explanation (found here: youtu.be/yTkojROg-t8 ) on nuclear fission.

    In the video, he described the process of fission to happen one a random neutron smashes into a uranium nucleus. This causes the necleus to split into krpyton and barium, taking part of the nucleon and electrons with it, along with a few extra neutrons. The extra neutrons then smash into other uranium nucleuses, causing the chain reaction.

    My question is, if you start with only x electrons in the original uranium atom, you must run out of electrons soon in the chain reaction. Where do the extra electrons needed to continue the chain reaction come from?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2017 #2
    I'm not sure why you think we will run out of electrons ,.... let's look at the equation for just one of the reactions that might occur ....

    10n + 235 92U → 141 56 Ba + 92 36 Kr + 3 10 n

    The first number (1) in the equation is the mass ...second number (0) is the charge ...n shows it's a neutron this hits uranium ...mass 235 charge 92 , on the right side of the equation we have the products ... the charge 56+36 =92 , the same on the left so same number of protons and electrons on both sides ...

    Fission products generally have too many neutrons for stability , and can remedy this by converting a neutron (zero charge) ..into a positive proton and a negative electron ....again charge is conserved .

    . .
  4. Jan 10, 2017 #3
    1. They are not needed to continue chain reaction. Uranium nuclei without any electrons would undergo fission all the same.
    2. The additional electrons are in the other uranium atoms where the electrons are. The fission process basically ignores electrons, which then tag along where the nuclei go.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted