I understand that in nuclear fusion, the colliding particle unites with the parent and fuses into a single nucleus with a higher mass. Sometimes other small particles (n, p) are given off.

However, that is not the case for the reaction:

$ _{14}^{7}\textrm{N}+_{1}^{0}\textrm{n}\rightarrow _{14}^{6}\textrm{C}+{_{1}^{1}\textrm{H}}$

If so, why would you still consider it as a nuclear fusion? I have come up with a theory that it is because the carbon has an extra neutron than Nitrogen. Is this correct?

  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't consider that fusion or fission. I'd call that a collision, but I'm not an expert. Could you provide a source for the claim that this is fusion? $\endgroup$ – Sean E. Lake Nov 6 '19 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ The source is from my textbook: New Century Senior Physics. I have also researched on numerous websites but none of them lists this chemical reaction as fusion. $\endgroup$ – S. Lee Nov 6 '19 at 9:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's definitely a nuclear reaction, not chemical. But since the number of nucleons in each of the parents match each of the daughters, I wouldn't call it fusion or fission. $\endgroup$ – Sean E. Lake Nov 6 '19 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ What Sean said. Fusion of light elements is normally exothermic, but that reaction happens with low energy (thermal) neutrons, and doesn't appear to emit any significant amount of energy. At least, I can't find any data about its energy output, eg the kinetic energy of the C-14 or the proton (measured in the COM frame of the N-14 and neutron). $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Nov 6 '19 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring You can have endothermic fusion - that's how we get elements heaver than iron/nickel, and how we make a lot of the transuranic elements (like 110). $\endgroup$ – Sean E. Lake Nov 6 '19 at 9:55

This is a classic " neutron capture " , not a fusion nor a fission . It naturally appears in troposphere and stratosphere where thermal neutrons are absorbed by nitrogen atoms . Cross section value for this thermal neutron capture : approx 1.8 b .

  • $\begingroup$ Since a proton comes out, some would call it neutron spallation... Simple capture has a neutron go in and nothing come out. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Nov 6 '19 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ The first step is a neutron capture . if not , this is an ( n , p ) nuclear reaction . $\endgroup$ – Jean Jacques Nov 6 '19 at 17:06

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