Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is in the nucleus of atoms. Radioactive materials can have large amounts of this energy inside. When an atom is split it releases the energy as light, heat and sometimes radiation in some materials like uranium. If an electron hits an atom the atom may split releasing energy. This splitting is called fission and is what they use to power a nuclear reactor. But if the atoms are condensed together they may cause a chain reaction in the atoms. Sometimes if the amount of energy is great enough the light emitted can be seen through a spinthariscope. Nuclear energy is a very powerful form of energy and is used in many ways across the world.


DCHplaydoh reactor.JPG
Fig.1 A Play-Doh model of a nuclear reactor



Nuclear Energy in Everyday Life: Nuclear Reactors
19% of energy in the U.S comes from nuclear energy. This type of energy can last hundreds of years and provides lots of power. In the nuclear reactors uranium would be split causing a chain reaction of atoms splitting called fission. The reactions produce energy when splitting and cause heat. This heat turns surrounding water into steam which turns a turbine spinning a generator making electricity. The steam is then cooled, condensates and is kept in the circuit as water again. The core of the reactor is cooled and controlled to overheating and meltdown like the Chernobyl disaster. The interactions between the atoms and the nuclear energy provide electricity for many people.

dch_fission.jpg
Fig.2 Fission reaction in uranium
dch_reactors.jpg
Fig.3 A nuclear reactor core

Spinthariscope Experiment
The purpose of this experiment was to see the atoms inside the spinthariscope splitting. The spinthariscope was taken in a dark room. The first time in the dark room the spinthariscope was looked at and observed. A few minutes later the spinthariscope was observed again. Twelve minutes later the spinthariscope was looked in and the sights where observed. The results of this where that when we were first in the dark room our eyes were not adjusted yet so the atoms could not be seen. Later the eyes are a little more adjusted and can see small waves of blue and white light. When they are fully adjusted the waves of blue and white light could be seen clearly. The eyes could register the light created by the atoms splitting once they had adjusted to the darker area they were in. ultimately the more time you are in the dark the better you can see it.

dch_spinthariscope.jpg
Fig.4 A picture of a spirinthascope