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Hydrogen Bomb

When we hear the word “bomb” a picture of destruction comes into mind. Bombs or any nuclear weapons generally symbolize unspeakable human suffering. Intensities of these bombs differ according to their strength. Radioactivity is the main concept behind the invention of bombs. Both nuclear fission and nuclear fusion reactions are involved in making bombs. In this article, let us know about hydrogen bombs or H-bombs. Also, let us understand the difference between atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs.

A nuclear weapon releases enormous energy in an explosive way due to nuclear fission reactions, nuclear fusion reactions, or a combination of the two reactions. Nuclear weapons were first tested in 1945 in the United States. This test was code-named Trinity.

Table of Contents:

What is Hydrogen Bomb

The hydrogen bomb (or) h bomb is also known as the thermonuclear bomb. These bombs have greater destructive power compared to atomic bombs. These hydrogen bombs are the result of nuclear fusion reactions. The uncontrolled chain reaction that is self-sustaining under high temperatures takes place through a process known as nuclear fusion. Reaction which involves combining two or more atomic nuclei to create one or more distinct atomic nuclei and subatomic particles is known as nuclear fusion. Energy released or absorption of energy is given as the difference in the mass between the reactants and products.

Nuclear fusion weapons feature two main components: Main components of the primary stage are Uranium-235 and or Plutonium-239. A separate nuclear fusion secondary stage featuring a thermonuclear fuel: deuterium, tritium, or lithium deuteride. Deuterium and tritium are isotopes of hydrogen, which provide ideal interacting nuclei for the fusion process. At present, lithium-6 deuteride is used as weapon fuel.

The Explosion of Hydrogen Bomb

The explosion of a Hydrogen bomb or H bomb takes place in two stages, primary stage and secondary stage, namely. In the primary stage, fissionable uranium is used to establish a fission chain reaction. This, in turn, produces explosions and creates a high temperature of several million degrees. It also produces a huge amount of radiation containing a large number of neutrons. The force and heat of this explosion are reflected back by a surrounding container of uranium and are streamed towards the secondary stage. The secondary stage features the lithium-6 deuteride. The heat generated in the primary stage supports the fusion reaction and causes a huge explosion that blows the uranium container apart. The entire hydrogen bomb explosion takes place in a fraction of a second.

Atomic Bomb

Nuclear fission is a process in which the nucleus of an atom splits into two or smaller nuclear fission products and usually some by-product particles. Hence, fission is a form of elemental transmutation.

The atomic bomb is also known as A-bomb, atom bomb, nuclear bomb, or nuclear warhead. The atomic bomb gets its destructive property from nuclear fission reactions or from the combination of nuclear fission or fusion reactions. Atomic bombs too realize an enormous amount of energy when exploded and cause mass destruction. This explosion is caused due to the nuclear fission reaction where the splitting of nuclei of a heavy element like uranium, and plutonium takes place. Now let us know more about the reason for the explosion of the atomic bomb.

The Explosion of Atomic Bomb

When the neutron strikes the nucleus of a uranium-235 or plutonium-239 isotope, it causes the nucleus of the atom to split into two fragments, each of which is a nucleus with about half the protons and neutrons of the original nucleus. When the splitting takes place, a high amount of heat, gamma rays, as well as two or more neutrons are released. Under certain conditions, the neutrons are made to fission more with uranium nuclei, which then emit more neutrons that split more nuclei. This series multiplies, resulting in an explosion. Now let us learn the difference between a hydrogen bomb and an atomic bomb.

Difference between Hydrogen Bomb and Atomic Bomb

Here is the list of notable diffrences between the hydrogen bomb and atomic bomb.

Hydrogen Bomb

Atomic Bomb

Explodes due to the extreme energy released by nuclear fusion reactions.

It explodes due to the extreme energy released by the nuclear fission reactions.

More destructive potential than an atomic bomb.

Less destructive potential than a hydrogen bomb.

Significantly more energy is released.

Comparatively less energy is released.

Lighter than an atomic bomb.

Heavier than a hydrogen bomb.

Sophisticated and difficult to make

Less sophisticated and comparatively easy to make.

Additional Information:

  1. One of the destructions which can never be forgotten is the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The two bombings on 6th August 1945 and 9th August 1945 using nuclear weapons caused unbearable massive destruction. A U.S. aircraft dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima city which led to the death of more than 70,000 people. This atomic bomb was named ‘Little Boy’. The next atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki – the city of Japan killed more than 30,000 people. This atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was named ‘fat man’.
  2. Hydrogen bombs can destroy whole cities in one explosion.
  3. American Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer is known as the father of the atomic bomb.
  4. Under the Manhattan Project, during World War II, the first atomic bomb was built in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
  5. A neutron bomb is a thermonuclear device without a uranium container.

Read more: Radioactivity

Related links

Murphy’s Law


Newton’s Laws of Motion

Magnetic field

Hope you have understood about hydrogen bomb, atomic bomb, and the differences between them. Stay tuned with BYJU’S to know more about various interesting Science and Math concepts.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Define hydrogen bomb.

A hydrogen bomb or thermonuclear bomb is a nuclear weapon that explodes due to the extreme energy released by nuclear fusion reactions.

Define atomic bomb

An atomic bomb or A-bomb is a nuclear weapon that explodes due to the extreme energy released by the nuclear fission reactions.

Who is the father of the atomic bomb?

J. Robert Oppenheimer is known as the father of the atomic bomb.

Which is more distructive: Hydrogen bomb or atomic bomb?

Hydrogen bomb is more distructive.

State true or false: The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was named ‘little boy’.

False, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was named ‘fat man’.

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