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