# 21.4 Transmutation and nuclear energy

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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
• Describe the synthesis of transuranium nuclides
• Explain nuclear fission and fusion processes
• Relate the concepts of critical mass and nuclear chain reactions
• Summarize basic requirements for nuclear fission and fusion reactors

After the discovery of radioactivity, the field of nuclear chemistry was created and developed rapidly during the early twentieth century. A slew of new discoveries in the 1930s and 1940s, along with World War II, combined to usher in the Nuclear Age in the mid-twentieth century. Science learned how to create new substances, and certain isotopes of certain elements were found to possess the capacity to produce unprecedented amounts of energy, with the potential to cause tremendous damage during war, as well as produce enormous amounts of power for society’s needs during peace.

## Synthesis of nuclides

Nuclear transmutation is the conversion of one nuclide into another. It can occur by the radioactive decay of a nucleus, or the reaction of a nucleus with another particle. The first manmade nucleus was produced in Ernest Rutherford’s laboratory in 1919 by a transmutation reaction, the bombardment of one type of nuclei with other nuclei or with neutrons. Rutherford bombarded nitrogen atoms with high-speed α particles from a natural radioactive isotope of radium and observed protons resulting from the reaction:

${}_{\phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}7}^{14}\text{N}+{}_{2}^{4}\text{He}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}⟶\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{}_{\phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}8}^{17}\text{O}+{}_{1}^{1}\text{H}$

The ${}_{\phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}8}^{17}\text{O}$ and ${}_{1}^{1}\text{H}$ nuclei that are produced are stable, so no further (nuclear) changes occur.

To reach the kinetic energies necessary to produce transmutation reactions, devices called particle accelerators are used. These devices use magnetic and electric fields to increase the speeds of nuclear particles. In all accelerators, the particles move in a vacuum to avoid collisions with gas molecules. When neutrons are required for transmutation reactions, they are usually obtained from radioactive decay reactions or from various nuclear reactions occurring in nuclear reactors. The Chemistry in Everyday Life feature that follows discusses a famous particle accelerator that made worldwide news.

## Cern particle accelerator

Located near Geneva, the CERN (“Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire,” or European Council for Nuclear Research) Laboratory is the world’s premier center for the investigations of the fundamental particles that make up matter. It contains the 27-kilometer (17 mile) long, circular Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle accelerator in the world ( [link] ). In the LHC, particles are boosted to high energies and are then made to collide with each other or with stationary targets at nearly the speed of light. Superconducting electromagnets are used to produce a strong magnetic field that guides the particles around the ring. Specialized, purpose-built detectors observe and record the results of these collisions, which are then analyzed by CERN scientists using powerful computers.

In 2012, CERN announced that experiments at the LHC showed the first observations of the Higgs boson, an elementary particle that helps explain the origin of mass in fundamental particles. This long-anticipated discovery made worldwide news and resulted in the awarding of the 2103 Nobel Prize in Physics to François Englert and Peter Higgs, who had predicted the existence of this particle almost 50 years previously.

#### Questions & Answers

في التسمية الشائعة للكيتونات يتم للمجموعة التي phenone إضافة لفظ تحتوي على الفينل
Zahara Reply
what is organic chemistry
God Reply
what is thyroid land
lynda Reply
what is density
Fathmat Reply
A measure of the amount of matter contained by a given volume. The ratio of one quantity to that of another quantity.
Anoruo
mass divided by volume i.e. g/cm^3
Walter
A
lynda
what's molarity?
Okpaka Reply
the concentration of a substance in solution, expressed as the number moles of solute per litre of solution
Anoruo
Please help me solve this question. A is a solution of 0.995mol/dm cube hydrochloride acid. B was prepared by diluting 10cm cube of a saturated solution of sodium trioxocarbonate (iv) to 100cm cube at room temperature. Assuming that 21.50cm cube of A reacted with 25cm cube of B. Calculate: i. Concentration of solution B in mol/dm cube. ii.Solubility of sodium trioxocarbonate (iv) at room temperature. Equation of the reaction: Na2Co3 +2HCL------> 2NaCL +H2O +CO2.
Mercy Reply
I don't know whether it's ok or not, but the answers I got are: I. 0.428 mol/dm^3 II. 4.54g per 100 g of water
Nazifa
In the first one, I first found out the amount of HCl in mol using moles=concentration x volume. Then I checked the ratio of Na2CO3 to HCl, which is 0.5 to 1. Therefore the moles of Na2CO3 will be half of HCl. Using the amount in moles and the volume as 25 cm^3, I reached my answer!
Nazifa
In the second one, it says that 10 cm^3 has saturated Na2CO3 solution. Using the concentration we found in previous answer, I found out the moles present in 10cm^3. After that, using mass= moles x RFM, I got it's mass. As for the mass of water, we know 1 cm^3 gives 1g, so 10 cm^3 gives 10g.....
Nazifa
Using solubility= mass of solute/mass of solvent x 100, we reach the answer.
Nazifa
Note: we will not use the volume of solution to be 100 cm^3, because then the solution will be dilute.
Nazifa
plz do correct me if I'm wrong!! ☺️
Nazifa
is like the answer is 900
lynda
how can I make citric acid crystals from lemon juice
Traceyo Reply
Write the resonance hybrids of furan and thiophene
Hydrolysis of CH3CH2NO2 with 85% H2SO4 gives? 2/Acetaldehyde is oxidised with potassium dichromate and sulphuric acid gives 3/ When benzyl alcohol is oxidised with KMnO4, the product obtained ? 4/ Benzyl chloride is oxidised with KOH4, the 5/
Hydrolysis of CH3CH2NO2 with 85% H2SO4 gives?
Define reduction in term of loss or gain of oxygen or hydrogen give an example.
Aneela
CuO + Mg → Cu + MgO removing oxygen is reduction. here Mg is reducing agent(loss of electrons)
Haider
reduction >> reduc(+)ion mean (+)ion reduced mean electron gained by (+)ion (+)ion means H(+).
Haider
How what works
Eric Reply
no clue how this works is there a VERY SIMPLE tutorial
Stu Reply
what are double bonds
Hafsat Reply
double bond are 2 atom that share four electron they are typical covalent bond that occur in alkene for example c2 h4
abdulaziz
what is the differentiate property of alkynes
Fifa
Am new ,hope am warnly welcome
Sarah Reply
yes ur re welcome
icha
when you are sqaring exponetlias does the exponent become positive if it was negative?
Vittorio Reply
but those these postulate still stand in today's chemistry context?
Fwangshak Reply
how can one knows the require coefficient of the reactants and balance it up with the products?
Fwangshak
how does the symbolic work
Princess Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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