Episode 526: Preparation for nuclear fission topic

Main aims
Students will:

  • Use balanced equations to represent transmutation, fission and fusion events
  • Calculate mass and energy changes in such events
  • Understand how a chain reaction can arise in fissile material
  • Explain how a controlled chain reaction is managed in a nuclear power reactor

Prior knowledge
Students should already be familiar with standard notation for nuclides and with balanced nuclear equations. They should know how to calculate energy changes from changes in nuclide masses.

Neutron fissions a uranium nucleus

Where this leads
If your students are to study an astronomy topic, this work forms a basis for understanding nuclear processes in stars. Mass-energy calculations using E = mc2, as well as the ability to balance nuclear equations, will also be useful in any study of particle physics.

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Episode 526: Preparation for nuclear fission topic (Word, 35 KB)