Nuclear Fusion Energy And Its Effects

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Nuclear Fusion Energy and its Effects

Nuclear Fusion Energy and its Effects


The purpose of this study is to expand the boundaries of our knowledge by exploring some relevant facts and figures related to Nuclear Fusion Energy and its effects. This phenomenon comes under the umbrella of Nuclear physics. This is the field of physics that studies atomic nuclei. A review of the nature of the nucleus is relevant to the discussion of this field.

The compact central component of an atom, called the nucleus, contains practically all of the mass of the atom, while its size is of the order 10-14 meter (m), about one ten-thousandth the size of an atom. Nuclei are in general composed of both protons, which carry one elementary unit of positive electric charge each, and neutrons, which are electrically neutral. (The sole exception is the hydrogen nucleus, consisting of only a single proton.) Both kinds of particles are called nucleons. The strong force, which in its internucleon version is mediated by pions, binds together the nucleons in a nucleus.

The number of protons in a nucleus is its atomic number, which determines the nucleus's electric charge and its atom's chemical properties and identity (i.e., its corresponding chemical element). The total number of nucleons in a nucleus is its mass number (or atomic mass number). A form of matter whose nuclei possess both a definite atomic number and a definite mass number is an isotope of the corresponding chemical element. Naturally occurring elements generally consist of a mixture of isotopes. The term nuclide is used for a type of nucleus characterized by both a particular atomic number and a particular mass number. Thus the nuclei of an isotope are all of the same nuclide (Smith, 2001).

Nuclear physics studies the properties of nuclei, their structure, and their reactions, as well as applications of all those. While the strong interaction is at its strongest when it binds together the triplets of quarks that form nucleons, it "leaks" from the nucleons in a weakened version that holds nucleons together as nuclei, against the repulsive electric force among the protons. So the study of nuclei is a way of gaining understanding of the strong interaction. The particle accelerator is a major tool for the study of nuclei. One of the important applications of nuclear physics is nuclear power, the production of energy from nuclear reactions. Controlled production is performed exclusively in nuclear reactors, in which energy is obtained from controlled fission reactions, in which heavy nuclei are split into lighter nuclei with concomitant release of energy (Serwa, 2004). Uncontrolled nuclear fission is the basis of nuclear-fission bombs, also called atom bombs. Nuclear-fusion bombs, often referred to as hydrogen bombs, are based on uncontrolled fusion reactions, in which light nuclei merge to form heavier nuclei and, in doing so, release energy. Such applications are the domain of nuclear engineering. Nuclear physicists are actively pursuing the goal of obtaining controlled nuclear power from fusion reactions. Another important range of application of nuclear physics is in ...
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