ABSTRACT A model of a fissioning nucleus that splits symmetrically both axially and equatorially is used to show how one can predict the presence of a fission barrier of several tens of MeV for nuclides of mass number A ~ 90 and of ~ 10 MeV for elements such as uranium. While the present model sacrifices some physical realism for the sake of analytic and programming simplicity, it does reproduce the general behavior of the run of fission barrier energy as a function of mass number as revealed by much more sophisticated models. Its intuitive appeal and tractability make it appropriate for presentation in a student-level “Modern Physics” class.
Cite this paper
Reed, B. (2011) A desktop-computer simulation for exploring the fission barrier. Natural Science, 3, 323-327. doi: 10.4236/ns.2011.34042.
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 Details of the calculations of the volume and surface area can be found at
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 The spreadsheet is available at .