Difference Between Atomic and Nuclear Bomb

Atomic vs Nuclear Bomb

Nuclear Bomb

Nuclear weapons are destructive weapons, created to release the energy from a nuclear reaction. These reactions can be broadly categorized to two, as fission reactions and fusion reactions. In nuclear weapons, either a fission reaction or combinations of fission and fusion reactions are used. In a fission reaction, a large, unstable nucleus is split into smaller stable nuclei and, in the process, energy is released. In a fusion reaction, two types of nuclei are combined together, releasing energy. Atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb are two types of nuclear bombs, which accommodate energy released from above reactions, to cause explosions.

The atomic bomb depends on the fission reactions. Hydrogen bombs are more complex than atomic bombs. Hydrogen bomb is also known as a thermonuclear weapon. In the fusion reaction, two hydrogen isotopes, which are deuterium and tritium, fuse to form helium releasing energy. The centre of the bomb has a very large number of tritium and deuterium. Nuclear fusion is triggered by few atomic bombs placed in the outer cover of the bomb. They start to split and release neutrons and X–ray from Uranium. A chain reaction will start. This energy causes the fusion reaction to occur at high pressures and high temperatures in the core region. When this reaction happens, the released energy causes the uranium in outer regions to undergo fission reactions releasing more energy. Therefore, the core triggers few atomic bomb explosions too.

The first nuclear bomb was exploded over Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945. After three days from this attack, the second nuclear bomb was placed on Nagasaki. These bombs caused so much death and destruction to both the cities that showed the dangerous nature of nuclear bombs to the world.

Atomic Bomb

Atomic bombs release energy through the nuclear fission reactions. The energy source for this is a large, unstable radioactive element like Uranium or Plutonium. Since the Uranium nucleus is unstable, it breaks down to two smaller atoms emitting neutrons and energy constantly, to become stable. When there is a small amount of atoms, the released energy can’t do much harm. In a bomb, the atoms are tightly packed with the force of the TNT explosion. So when Uranium nucleus decay and emit neutrons, they can’t escape out. They collide with another nucleus, to release more neutrons. Likewise, all the Uranium nuclei will hit by neutrons, and neutrons will be released. This will take place like a chain reaction, and the number of neutrons and energy will be released in an exponentially increasing manner. Because of the dense TNT packing, these released neutrons can’t escape, and with a fraction of a second, all nuclei will break down causing a huge energy. Bomb explosion takes place when this energy is released. Example is the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during world war 3.


What is the difference between Atomic Bomb and Nuclear Bomb?

• Atomic bomb is a type of nuclear bomb.

• Nuclear bombs may depend on nuclear fission or nuclear fusion. Atomic bomb is the type which depends on nuclear fission. The other type is hydrogen bombs.

• Atomic bombs release less energy compared to hydrogen bombs.

• Several atomic bombs are included in the other type of nuclear bombs.


  • CanDaMan

    World War 2 not 3.