Chemistry 2

The difference between chemical and nuclear energy

  1. Chemical Energy
    1. Potential energy that can be converted to other forms, primarily heat and light, energy when bonds form.
    2. The stronger the bond the more chemical energy that can be converted.
  2. Nuclear Energy
    1. Nuclear energy is not related to the formation of chemical bonds (which are due to the interactions of electrons).
    2. Nuclear energy is the energy that can be converted to other forms when there is a change in the nucleus of an atom.
    3. The nuclear change can be one of three basic processes:
      1. Splitting of the nucleus
      2. Fusing two nuclei to form a new nucleus
      3. Releasing high energy electromagnetic radiation (gamma rays) to form a more stable version of the same nucleus.
  3. Comparison of energy conversion
    1. The amount of chemical energy typically released (or converted) in a chemical explosion is:
      5 kJ for each gram of TNT
    2. The amount of nuclear energy typically released by an atomic bomb is:
      100,000,000 kJ for each gram of uranium or plutonium