Fusion bombs

Before we continue it is important to distinguish between fusion and fission reactions. A fission reaction is one where an atomic nucleus splits in two and a fusion reaction is one where two nuclei fuse into one. Both type of reactions produce a great deal of energy.

Nuclear fusion devices are sometimes known as hydrogen bombs or thermonuclear bombs. A fusion reaction delivers almost 2.5 times more energy than a fission reaction.


Nuclear fusion creates a great deal of energy. Thermonuclear devices or H-bombs use a nuclear fusion reaction between hydrogen isotopes, namely deuterium and tritium. In this reaction the two isotopes fuse to form helium and a single neutron, as shown on the right.


When the two isotopes fuse the end products weigh a little less than the sum of both isotopes before the reaction. The difference in mass is transformed into energy according to the formula E = mc2