Question about nuclear fusion

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hey everyone,

When you have the fusion of deuterium and tritium, what is it that causes the release of energy? On one website i read that the energy is released according e=mc2 where mass is converted into energy (as the mass of the products<mass of reactants). On another website however, i read that the energy is related to a neutron produced which stores the energy via its velocity. Can someone explain to me which one is correct and how this happens?

Thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Astronuc
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In the majority of fusion reactions, the nucleons form a more tightly bound nucleus with lower energy, and the excess energy (binding energy) is manifest as the kinetic energy of the products. In the case of d+t, the product is an alpha particle which is very stable, and a free neutron which based on the conservation of energy and momentum takes about 80% of the energy of the reaction.

Please refer to these:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/nucbin.html

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/fusion.html
 
  • #3
Thanks for the reply astro.
So basically, the energy from the fusion reaction can be obtained by harnessing the kinetic energy of the neutron?
 
  • #4
Astronuc
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The kinetic energy of the neutron and alpha particle are the energy released from the reconfiguration of the d,t. The alpha particles is a deeper potential well than the deuteron or triton, and the nuclear potential energy is transformed into the kinetic energies of the alpha particle and neutron. I don't know of an easier way to describe it.
 
  • #5
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Thanks for the reply astro.
So basically, the energy from the fusion reaction can be obtained by harnessing the kinetic energy of the neutron?
Basically, yes. One problem with fusion reactor concepts is that 14 MeV D-T fusion neutrons tend not to stop easily or cleanly, so converting the neutron kinetic energy efficiently into heat without activating everything in sight is difficult.
 

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