How a Hydrogen Bomb works

How does a Hydrogen bomb works/explodes

Hydrogen bomb or H-bomb or thermonuclear bomb worked on the principle of nuclear fusion. Two lighter hydrogen atoms combine to form Helium and release a large amount of energy. The released energy is equal to the difference in the masses of two hydrogen atoms and a Helium atom. Nuclear fusion releases four times more energy than nuclear fission.

According to Einstein’s equation of E-mc2, if deuterium (an isotope of Hydrogen with 1 electron, 1 proton, and 1 neutron) and tritium (an isotope of Hydrogen with 1 electron, 1 proton, and 2 neutrons) fuse together, it releases 17.6 MeV energy.

image: nd.edu

Deuterium can be easily made on earth by electrolysis of hard water (seawater). But Tritium is not very common on earth. Infect the only 20Kg of Tritium is available on the entire earth. So scientists found that they can generate it instantly inside the hydrogen bomb by combining Deuterium with Lithium (Li).

How Hydrogen bomb explodes
  • In order to combine the nuclei of two atoms (Deuterium and Tritium), we need a high very high temperature of 100 million Kelvin (higher than the sun’s core which has 15 million kelvin).
  • Under normal circumstances, two atoms cannot combine due to strong repulsive force between their nuclei
  • But when they heated to 100 million Kelvin, the positively charged nuclei gained sufficient kinetic energy to overcome the repulsive force and fuse together.
  • When they fuse together, they form a Helium atom and release a high-energy neutron particle.
  • It is a two-stage process and uses nuclear fission and fusion.
  • The explosion process begins with a detonation at the primary stage.
  • The primary stage explosion triggers the nuclear fission chain reaction.
  • The fissioning process emits x-rays and gamma rays that reflect along the inside of the casing and irradiating the polystyrene foam.
  • polystyrene foam turns into a plasma and compresses the secondary stage fuel and spark begin in the Plutonium to start a fusion reaction
  • Compressed and super-heated lithium-6 deuteride fuel begins the fusion process and releases Tritium.
  • The Tritium and Deuterium fuse together to form Helium and released energy in the form of the neutron.
  • The neutron will help the Uranium casing and the Plutonium rod to undergo a fission reaction. This causes more pressure on lithium-6 deuteride to release more neutrons which produces more fusion which produces more fission and so on.
  • The fission and fusion loop continues till a massive explosion occurs
  • The entire process takes less than a fraction of a second.
  • The thermonuclear bomb produces so much light and heat that it can make a permanent blind if they see the event at a distance of few Kilometers.
Hydrogen bomb events

Hydrogen Bombs are 100 or 1000 times more powerful than a conventional atomic bomb. They can be made as large as possible ad adding the amount of fuel in the second stage.