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What is nuclear fission?what is nuclear fusion?

Question asked by: knowitall

Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion refer to two quite different processes, both of which humans have realised can be harnessed to produce truly huge quantities of energy.

Nuclear fission is the splitting of an atom into more basic particles, in the process releasing energy. This is how standard nuclear technology and weapons work. Nuclear energy provided to homes and used in industry comes from nuclear fission. Atoms of radioactive elements decay or split and in the process, energy is given off.

Nuclear fusion is much harder to be achieved on earth and needs truly extreme conditions to be created. This is the process where rather than being split, atoms are fused together - hence fusion - to create something heavier or less fundamental.

A fusion reaction will lead to the release of even more energy than fission. Nuclear fusion is what happens inside a star as atoms of lighter elements are combined, for instance classically hydrogen to helium fusion in the sun.

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