# Explore atom stability nuclear reactions!

Build an Atom and Investigate Nuclear Reations

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(due date: Saturday, 8/15, midnight)

Watch: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/einstein-big-idea.html

Explore atom stability nuclear reactions!

Steps:

Build an Atom
The problem: You have a nucleus with a fixed number of protons.
What must you add to a nucleus consisting of protons to make a stable ion? How many should be added?
What must you add to a nucleus consisting of protons to make a stable atom? How many should be added?

Develop hypotheses.

Click to show Stable/Unstable in the lower left.
Now, we experiment!
Add 3 protons to the nucleus. Repeat for 6 protons.
Which element is this?
Now, add other either neutrons or electrons to stabilize the nucleus.
If you added both, once the ion is stabilized take away either the electrons or the neutrons (but not both) to better determine which led to stability.
Now that you’ve determined which led to stability, add more of that type to see if stability is maintained.
Did electrons or neutrons give stability to the ion?
What is an isotope?
What are the minimum and maximum number of electrons/neutrons that allow for stability? It may be a single number!
Now, determine what is needed to produce a stable atom rather than ion.
Repeat for 6 protons.
Repeat for 10 protons.

Nuclear Fission
Go to: http://www.visionlearning.com/library/animations/VL_Fission_Animation/Nuclear_Fission_r5.html
It’s a <20 second simulation showing the nuclear fusion of U235.

Nuclear Fusion
Go to: http://www.visionlearning.com/img/app/library/objects/Flash/VLObject-2747-040421040452.swf
It's a <90 second simulation showing the a nuclear fusion reactor.
What is the difference between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission?
How is the Tokamak reactor similar to the sun?

Controlled and Uncontrolled Nuclear Chain Reactions
Go to: http://www.visionlearning.com/img/app/library/objects/Flash/VLObject-3602-100223080241.swf
Watch both the controlled and uncontrolled chain reactions.
What's the difference between controlled and uncontrolled chain reactions?
What is the purpose of a control rod?
Does the chain reaction increase or decrease if you "lower the control rods"? Why?

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