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Types of energy released in a nuclear explosion

  1. Jun 16, 2008 #1
    Hi all.
    I'm new to this forum, but I checked the FAQs and I think I'm in the right place to ask this:
    Is there just one type of energy that is released during a nuclear explosion?

    Please let me explain.
    I'm in a very complicated argument with someone, and the argument has come to this point; is there more then one kind of energy released in a nuclear explosion, or is it all photons?

    I understand - from what I've read - that photons are ultimately responsible for many different types of damage that a nuclear explosion causes. For instance, photons cause thermal heating of the surrounding air, which creates kinetic energy. (Am I even saying that right?)

    But what I want to know is if all of the energy that is released at the source of a nuclear explosion ultimately starts off as photons.

    {If it helps to understand my debate further... the person I was arguing with said that all energy is light.)

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2008 #2


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    In a Uranium fission most of the energy goes into the KE of the uranium atoms, although they will presumably then hit other surrounding atoms and transfer that KE into heat. Then there are a couple of 2Mev neutrons and most of the bang goes in the form of a 30Mev gamma photon.

    Astronuc is our expert in these things going bang ( although his day job is stopping them going bang!)
  4. Jun 16, 2008 #3


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    Not quite true. The gamma rays come out as a fission spectrum, mostly between 1 and 10 Mev.
  5. Jun 17, 2008 #4
    Thanks MGB. That was pretty much what I thought. But since I know very little of physics, I didn't want to say anything without more info.

  6. Jun 18, 2008 #5
    I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. Feel free to post what you want. I find it quite educational to so since this has led me to learn a great many things in these forums and newgroups on the internet. Don't worry about making mistakes. We all do at one time or another. So long as you can realize your mistakes, admit them as soon as possible when you do see your error and then learn from it. That's how I myself have used these discussions to learn. E.g. I just learned about something called a "velocity operator" which I had heard about before and formerly believed that there was no such thing. But I realized my mistake, readily admitted it, learned from it and moved on. Its the wise man who can admit his mistakes when it is called for.

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