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Nuclear physicsAnswered question
ureji1c8r1 ureji1c8r1 2022-05-14

Energy released in nuclear fission
In induced fission of U-235, neutrons are bombarded at the U-235, producing U-236. This U-236 then undergoes fission:
U-235 + n --> U-236 --> Ba-141 + Kr-92 + 3n
As far as I understand, the energy released in fission is gained as kinetic energy of the products, and also released as gamma photons/beta particles and neutrinos when the products decay. My confusion lies in calculating the energy released, as I do not think the method in the textbook is correct.
The absorbed neutron loses nuclear potential energy. This causes the binding energy of U-236>U-235, meaning the rest mass of U-236 is less than the rest mass of U-235 + n. This increase in binding energy is then used to deform the nucleus into a double-lobed drop allowing the two fragments to separate due to electrostatic repulsion.
The two fragments formed have a greater binding energy per nucleon than U-236, and hence the binding energy of the fragments is greater than U-236. (In turn causing the mass of the products to decrease). However this increase in binding energy is gained as kinetic energy of the products/released as gamma photons etc.
Mo1 = Mass(U235+n)
Mo2= MassU236
Mo3 = Massfissionproducts
B1=binding energy of U235
B2=binding energy of U236
B3 = binding energy of fission products
The energy released in fission is due to the increase in binding energy B3-B2. The increase in binding energy B2-B1 is used to deform the nucleus - it is not 'released'. Therefore the energy released in the fission process = (Mo2-Mo3)c^2.
However my textbook states that the energy released in the fission process =(Mo1-Mo3)c^2. I don't understand this as they are including the energy to deform the nucleus, (Mo1-Mo2)c^2, when this is not actually released.
Any help is greatly appreciated!

When you need an example of nuclear fission, the best way to learn how things work is to turn to the questions and answers that contain explanations and the practical implementation of the concept. If you’re trying to reverse-engineer some equations, it will work as a helpful approach, yet you should focus on the lab experiments where the heavy nucleus is attacked by the neutrons with all the instability involved. Start with the nuclear fission equation to determine the level of energy produced to see how the variables affect the outcome of what you’re aiming to achieve in the result.