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Elastic Collision in Nuclear Reactors

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Canadian nuclear reactors use heavy water moderators in which elastic collisions occur between the neutrons and deuterons of mass 2.0 u. What is the speed of a neutron, expressed as a fraction of its original speed, after a head-on, elastic collision with a deuteron which is initially at rest? What is its kinetic energy, expressed as a fraction of its original kinetic energy? How many such successive collisions will reduce the speed of a neutron to 1/59,000 of its original value?

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Solution Summary

This solution provides three answers with six steps of calculations. The law of conservation of momentum and Newton's experimental law are used.

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mass of neutron m1 = 1 unit = 1*1.67*10^(-27) kg
mass of deutron m2 = 2 unit

initital velocity of neutron u1 = vo
initital velocity of deutron u2 = 0

By momentum law,
m1*u1 + m2*u2 = m1*v1 + m2*v2
1*vo + 0 = 1*v1 + ...

Solution provided by:
  • BEng, Allahabad University, India
  • MSc , Pune University, India
  • PhD (IP), Pune University, India
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