Analysis of the Atomic Bomb

This essay Analysis of the Atomic Bomb has a total of 2139 words and 10 pages.

Analysis of the Atomic Bomb

Ever since the dawn of time man has found new ways of killing
each other. The most destructive way of killing people known to man
would have to be the atomic bomb. The reason why the atomic bomb is so
destructive is that when it is detonated, it has more than one effect.
The effects of the atomic bomb are so great that Nikita Khrushchev
said that the survivors would envy the dead (International Physicians
for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1982). These devastating physical
effects come from the atomic bomb’s blast, the atomic bomb’s thermal
radiation, and the atomic bomb’s nuclear radiation.
An atomic bomb is any weapon that gets its destructive power
from an atom. This power comes when the matter inside of the atoms is
transformed into energy. The process by which this is done is known
as fission. The only two atoms suitable for fissioning are the
uranium isotope U-235 and the plutonium isotope Pu-239 (Outlaw
Labs). Fission occurs when a neutron, a subatomic particle with no
electrical charge, strikes the nucleus of one of these isotopes and
causes it to split apart. When the nucleus is split, a large amount
of energy is produced, and more free neutrons are also released.
These neutrons then in turn strike other atoms, which causes more
energy to be released. If this process is repeated, a self-sustaining
chain reaction will occur, and it is this chain reaction that causes
the atomic bomb to have its destructive power (World Book, 1990).
This chain reaction can be attained in two different ways.
The first type of atomic bomb ever used was a gun-type. In
this type two subcritical pieces of U-235 are placed in a device
similar to the barrel of an artillery shell. One piece is placed at
one end of the barrel and will remain there at rest. The other
subcritical mass is placed at the other end of the barrel. A
conventional explosive is packed behind the second subcritical mass.
When the fuse is triggered, a conventional explosion causes the second
subcritical mass to be propelled at a high velocity into the first
subcritical mass. The resulting combination causes the two
subcritical masses to become a supercritical mass. When this
supercritical mass is obtained, a rapid self-sustained chain reaction
is caused (World Book, 1990). This type of atomic bomb was used on
Hiroshima, and given the nickname “Little Boy” after Franklin D.
Roosevelt (Outlaw Labs).

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