What is meant by Nuclear Fission?« Back to Questions List

In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is both a nuclear reaction or a radioactive decay course of in which the nucleus of a particle splits into smaller parts (lighter nuclei). The fission process incessantly produces free neutrons and photons (in the form of gamma rays), and releases an extraordinarily great amount of vitality.


An precipitated fission response


Nuclear fission of heavy parts was revealed on December 17, 1938 by way of Otto Hahn and his assistant Fritz Strassmann, and explained theoretically in January 1939 by Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Robert Frisch. Frisch named the process by using analogy with organic fission of dwelling cells. it is anexothermic reaction which can release huge amounts of energy each as electromagnetic radiation and as kinetic energy of the fragments (heating the majority subject material the place fission takes position). in order for fission to provide power, the whole binding vitality of the resulting parts must be larger than that of the beginning element.


Fission is a form of nuclear transmutation for the reason that resulting fragments will not be the identical element as the unique atom. the 2 nuclei produced are most continuously of comparable but moderately completely different sizes


Nuclear fission produces energy for nuclear energy and drives the explosion of nuclear weapons. both uses are conceivable as a result of certain elements called nuclear fuels endure fission when struck through fission neutrons, and in turn emit neutrons once they wreck aside. This makes that you can imagine a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction that releases power at a controlled charge in a nuclear reactor or at a very speedy uncontrolled charge in a nuclear weapon.


A schematic nuclear fission chain response


the quantity of free vitality contained in nuclear gasoline is millions of times the quantity of free vitality contained in a similar mass of chemical gas akin to gasoline, making nuclear fission a very dense source of vitality. The products of nuclear fission, alternatively, are on reasonable a long way more radioactive than the heavy parts which might be generally fissioned as fuel, and stay so for vital quantities of time, giving rise to a nuclear waste downside. concerns over nuclear waste accumulation and over the damaging doable of nuclear weapons may counterbalance the desirable traits of fission as an power source, and give rise to ongoing political debate over nuclear power.


(Please refer the earlier questions ‘What is meant by nuclear fusion?’ and What is meant by  atom, molecule, nucleus, proton and neutron?’ for a better understanding.)