Nuclear Chemistry

Nuclear Chemistry at Work

How does an atomic bomb work?

Atomic bombs (A-bombs) are based on nuclear chain reactions that occur very rapidly, causing a huge release of energy in a very short amount of time. In early designs, two pieces of uranium would be fired at one another in the core of the bomb, initiating the fission chain reaction responsible for the explosion of the bomb. As the bomb starts to detonate the core of the bomb expands, and it is necessary that pressure be applied against the expanding core while the fission process takes place. Within a fraction of a second after detonation, the explosion takes place. These are the type of bombs that were used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II and are the only nuclear weapons that have been used in war to this day.


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