Horace Walcott                                                                                                Return to Chemistry Menu

Bronx Community School for Technology

Summer 2001


How does nuclear fission differ from nuclear fusion?


SWAT: I      Gain insight into the basic concepts of nuclear chemistry

 II.              Predict the out come of nuclear reactions based on the types of emissions and reactants

III.             Estimate t 1/2 of isotopes

IV.              Distinguish fission from fusion


Motivation:  Demonstration [Student participation]  Students will construct a magnetic model of the gold atom. 

Auric Goldfinger in Ian Fleming’s spy novel and James Bond film Goldfinger  attempted to transform the gold reserve at Fort Knox by exposing it to a nuclear explosion. 

Demonstrate how Mr. Goldfinger’s nuclear explosion could have transformed the non-radioactive isotope of gold to a radioactive isotope of gold?


Why is there no change in the chemistry of the gold?

[Students will modify the gold nucleus]


Nuclear Reactions Due to emission of radiation: Decay Reactions

I.                  a-Decay  Ex. U-238

II.               b-Decay.  Ex. Sr-90 and I-131

III.           g-Decay.  Ex. Tc 99 m


How are nuclear reactions classified and written?


   I.                  Natural Decay reactions

        II.               Fission. O1n    +  m 2 z X                          m+1z W       +          mzY

 III.           Fusion.   m1zX + mznY                      m1+m z+zn W


Medial Summary: How is the half-life of an isotope estimated?  Why should the number of sub-atomic particles on the RHS = THOSE ON THE LHS?


Estimation of t1/2.

I.                  Computation

II.               Interpolation


How are fission and fusion applied?

I.                  Nuclear reactors and fission bombs.

II.               Thermonuclear bombs and fusion reactions.


Final Summary:  How can decay reactions occur from the products of fission and fusion reactions?


Text:  R. Thomas Myers; Oldham, K.B.; and Tocci, S.  Chemistry Visualizing Matter. 2000 Holt Rhinehart and Winston, East Hampton, N.Y.


Read:  Holt.    pp    656 -673.

Homework:  Explain why 99mTc is useful in medical science?  Estimate [in g] the mass of 99mTc after 150 minutes.  The initial mass = 2000 mg.

T 1/2 99mTc = 6 h. [Use interpolation and the formula to estimate the mass of. 99mTc].


Portfolio Project 

How does a PETSCAN work?  [Use Power-Point to generate and explain your answer]

Also, by means of Power-Point, including the motion picture options, explain how you would use a PET SCAN to diagnose a brain tumor in a bottle nose dolphin.    



S 4; PI 3.1 Explain the properties of materials in terms of the arrangement and properties of the atoms that compose them.

S 4.4 Explain the benefits and risks of radioactivity

X.5      Nuclear reactions

S1 Analysis Inquiry and design

M1.1 Abstraction and geometric representation to describe and compare data

S6 Interconnectedness of common themes

S7 Interdisciplinary problem solving