Wednesday, July 1, 2009

English Oral

Pan Jia Ahn – Oral 2

The Theory Behind The Nuclear Bomb

The first concept that you need to know before you can understand how an atomic bomb works is Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. This theory with its formula E=MC2, is well known among most people; but not understood by most. This theory actually states the relationship between mass and energy; where energy (in joules) is equal to the product of the mass (in kilograms) and the speed of light (in metre per second) squared. If you don’t know, light travels at a speed of 30 million metres per second. So, you can imagine the vast amount of energy that can be produced by the conversion of just a small amount of matter.

However, there is a catch. Most nuclei of atoms are so strongly bonded that it takes more energy to break it up than the energy it will produce. The only two elements with nuclei that are easily broken up (and this is called nuclear fission) are Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239. Plutonium-239 is not found naturally on earth, whereas Uranium-235 is exceedingly rare. It is estimated that if you mine 500 tons of uranium ore, you would only get 1 ton of pure uranium. On top of that, only 2 percent of the uranium obtained is Uranium-235 and the rest is Uranium-238, which is not ‘fissionable’. In addition, the refinery process of uranium is very expensive and tedious which causes it to be the main obstacle in building a nuclear bomb.

So, how does the nuclear bomb work? The explosive process starts with a neutron gun firing a high speed neutron into the nucleus of a uranium atom. The atom will then spit with the release of huge amounts of energy and two more neutrons. These two neutrons will in turn hit another two uranium atoms, which then split and produce four neutrons that will hit another four atoms. This process is called the chain reaction, and is what makes the atomic bomb so deadly.

So, what actually causes the energy to be liberated? When the nuclei split, a very small amount of energy is destroyed. Referring back to Einstein’s Theory, this will release huge amounts of energy. Most of the matter actually changes into the atoms of other elements. It is found that that in the nuclear bomb dropped in Nagasaki, only 1 gram of matter was destroyed, and it killed about 30 000 people instantly. And nowadays nuclear bombs are more than ten times more powerful as before, with the USA having thousands of them.

To conclude things, nuclear weapons are not something to be laughed about. World War 3 is predicted to be a nuclear war. You don’t want to imagine that. So, all we can do is hope and pray that the leaders of this world will make wise decisions in using nuclear weapons or the earth might just end up as a cloud of dust.

And finally, don’t try this at home.


May said...

THIS is such a cool strategy. Why didn't I THINK of this before????

Befuddle the English teacher with so many scientific terms that he/she will definitely give you an A.

Because they want to appear as though they actually understand and can follow what you're talking about mah. XD

Oh and it's "oral". Not the music "aural". (Just before EF gets to that.) =P I used to get confused too, just the other way round.

theresa said...

tsk tsk english errors.

ja said...

Haha... I didn't really intend to befuddle the teacher actually, when I choose the topic. But, whatever, as long as I can get an A. =)

Haha.. K. Noted.