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Nuclear Fusion



In nuclear fusion, you get energy when two atoms join together to form one. In a fusion reactor, hydrogen atoms come together to form helium atoms, neutrons and vast amounts of energy. It's the same type of reaction that powers hydrogen bombs and the sun. This would be a cleaner, safer, more efficient and more abundant source of power than nuclear fission.

There are several types of fusion reactions. Most involve the isotopes of hydrogen called deuterium and tritium:


Regents Questions

Jan 2012-49 Given the balanced equation representing a nuclear reaction:

Which phrase identifies and describes this reaction?

(1) fission, mass converted to energy

(2) fission, energy converted to mass

(3) fusion, mass converted to energy

(4) fusion, energy converted to mass

Highlight the box for the Answer==>



Cold Fusion

 In 1989, researchers in the United States and Great Britain claimed to have made a fusion reactor at room temperature without confining high-temperature plasmas. They made an electrode of palladium, placed it in a thermos of heavy water (deuterium oxide) and passed an electrical current through the water. They claimed that the palladium catalyzed fusion by allowing deuterium atoms to get close enough for fusion to occur. However, several scientists in many countries failed to get the same result. 

But in April 2005, cold fusion got a major boost. Scientists at UCLA initiated fusion using a pyroelectric crystal. They put the crystal into a small container filled with hydrogen, warmed the crystal to produce an electric field and inserted a metal wire into the container to focus the charge. The focused electric field powerfully repelled the positively charged hydrogen nuclei, and in the rush away from the wire, the nuclei smashed into each other with enough force to fuse. The reaction took place at room temperature. See Coming in out of the cold: Cold fusion, for real ( to learn more.



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