GCSE Chemistry Revision: Nuclear Fusion

5th April 2017

GCSE Science Physics – Nuclear Fusion

KEY STAGE 4 – GCSE Physics – Revision Guide


Then use this Revision Guide on Nuclear Fusion to remember all the Key Study Points in the Syllabus and get Full Marks in your GCSE Physics Exam.

What is Nuclear Fusion?

This occurs when two (smaller) nuclei fuse together to make a larger nuclei.

For example:

Hydrogen -1 (1 Proton)

fuses with

Hydrogen - 2 (1 Proton + 1 Neutron)

to make

Helium - 3 (2 Protons + 1 Neutron).


What happens when Nuclear Fusion occurs?

Nuclear Fusion causes energy to be released, so scientists have identified it as a potential source of energy.

However, due to ‘Electrostatic Repulsion’ the two nuclei do not ‘fuse’ readily.

For example:

If we want to ‘fuse’ a deuterium (2H) nucleus and a tritium (3H) nucleus together:

  • They are both Positively Charged and will repel  each other due to “Electrostatic Repulsion”


Because of this, it takes a large amount of energy (in the form of heat and pressure) to force the nuclei together and create Nuclear Fusion.

So even though energy is released, it takes significant amount of energy to get to that point.

Nuclear Fusion as an energy Source

Nuclear Fusion is what stars use to keep burning bright, scientists are trying to replicate this reaction as a way of producing energy in power stations.

But, there are many hurdles still to overcome, for example:

  • High temperatures (and high pressures) needed for Nuclear Fusion  require a lot of energy

  • The hot gasses released during the reaction can be dangerous and difficult to handle.



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