Difference Between Nuclear Reaction and Chemical Reaction (With Table)

In nature, numerous reactions are going down every minute or second. The smallest of things undergo different types of reactions. The food plant produces, the digestion, any chemical production, changing of the shapes, etc., are some reactions that are commonly seen. Also, in laboratories, one can study these reactions at a very close glance. The production of dissociation of any atoms, molecules, nucleus, etc., is also classified as one of them.

Nuclear Reaction vs Chemical Reaction

The difference between Nuclear Reaction and Chemical Reaction is that Nuclear reaction is self-explanatory by its name as it includes the changes in the nuclei of the atom that is used as a reactant to a completely different form of an element as a product. Whereas comparatively, on the other hand, Chemical reaction does not deal with the change in nuclei, but it is the change in the element or atom or molecule to form a completely new atom or molecule or element as a product.

A nuclear reaction is a type of reaction that produces an enormous amount of heat while taking place. Also, the amount of heat produced is from the destruction of mass. The reaction, which is generally considered to be irreversible in most cases, does not conserve mass. The interesting fact about the reaction is that they are nearly independent of external factors such as pressure, temperature, etc. 

A chemical reaction is a type of reaction that is carried out mostly in laboratories safely. While in a chemical reaction, heat is released but not in a huge range like that of a nuclear reaction. The chemical reactions are somewhat dependent on the external factors that may bring changes in the products, and that may include – pressure, temperature, the activity of the catalyst, etc.

Comparison Table Between Nuclear Reaction and Chemical Reaction

Parameters of ComparisonNuclear ReactionChemical Reaction
Place of Occurrence Inside the nucleus of the atom or element or moleculeOutside the nucleus of the atom or element or molecule
What is it?Change in the nucleus of reactant to forming a completely different new nucleus of productChange in element or atom or molecule from reactants to products
External FactorsIndependent in natureDependent in nature  
Energy Release  An enormous amount of energyA low range of energy is released.
Bond FormationNo such activity takes placeNew bonds are formed
NatureIrreversibleIt can be both reversible or irreversible
ExampleBeta-decay of 14CFormation of NaCl
UnitsMillion electron volts/individual nucleusKJ/mol or J/mol  

What is Nuclear Reaction?

Nuclear reactions are the reactions that can be defined or stated as the reactions that are occurred when one or two nuclei of an atom or element or molecule are collided with each other to form new nuclei of an atom or element, or molecule. While the ongoing nuclear reaction, scientists have found that they release a tremendous amount of energy that can be stored as nuclear energy in reactors and generally termed as a nuclear power.

The advantage of nuclear reaction is that even a small amount can produce a large sum of energy. These are of two types – nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Among the two types of reaction, nuclear fission is the reaction under controllable by humans in which still the energy is uncontrollable, whereas nuclear fusion is the reaction that takes place in the sun, which is the ultimate source of energy.  

What is Chemical Reaction?

A chemical reaction is a reaction that can be defined or stated as the reaction that takes place when there is a rearrangement of the atoms or elements or molecules of reactants in something different to form a new product with a different arrangement of atoms or molecules or elements. While in an ongoing chemical reaction, the amount of heat release is low and is expressed in terms of J/mol or KJ/mol.

The chemical reaction doesn’t involve the nucleus while it occurs. Also, these reactions are hugely dependent on the external factors that are responsible for making a change in them, and they are – pressure, temperature, pH, rate of reaction, the activity of the catalyst, etc. Thus, they may be reversible or irreversible depending on their type.

Main Differences Between Nuclear Reaction and Chemical Reaction

  1. Nuclear reactions are the reaction that usually occurs inside the nucleus of any element or atom or molecule whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the chemical reaction is the reaction that occurs outside the nucleus of the element or atom or molecule. 
  2. A nuclear reaction, in general, can be defined or state as the reaction that occurs inside the nucleus and changes the nucleus of one element or atom or molecule to another one to form a completely different one, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the chemical reaction, in general, can be stated or defined as the reactions that take place to change element or atom or molecule from one to another without any change in the nucleus. 
  3. Nuclear reactions are said to be independent of the external factors that usually affect any reaction that may include – pressure, temperature, pH, rate of reaction, and many more others whereas comparatively, on the other hand, a chemical reaction is are the reactions that are not independent to external factors, despite they are the one that is mostly affected by the difference in pressure, temperature, pH, rate of reaction, catalyst activity, and many more others. 
  4. While performing a nuclear reaction, it is believed to be releasing an enormous amount of heat, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the amount of heat released while performing any chemical reaction is low than that of a nuclear reaction.
  5. In a nuclear reaction, there is no breaking of bond while forming any new element or atom or molecule while comparatively, on the other hand, is a chemical reaction, there is formation and breaking of a bond to form a new element or atom or molecule. 
  6. The nuclear reactions are mostly irreversible while comparatively, on the other hand, the chemical reaction might be reversible or irreversible. 
  7. The energy released in a nuclear reaction is expressed in terms of million electron volts/individual nucleus, while comparatively, on the other hand, the energy released in a chemical reaction is expressed in terms of J/mol or KJ/mol. 
  8. The beta decay of 14C is an example of a nuclear reaction, while comparatively, on the other hand, the formation of NaCl is a common example of a chemical reaction.  

Conclusion

Chemistry is a subject that deals with the formation and breaking down of atoms or elements or molecules into other atoms or elements or molecules. Many reactions are studied under the subject where nuclear reaction and chemical reaction are two of them. These are the reactions that occur in everyday lives, the universe, etc. The nuclear reaction occurs because of nuclear fission and fusion, whereas chemical reaction occurs because of the rearrangement of atoms or molecules, or elements.

The tremendous amount of heat that is released while in the nuclear reaction is large and is expressed in million electron volts/individual nucleus, while the amount of heat released is low and is expressed in terms of Jol/mol or KJ/mol. 

References

  1. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-4365/aa94cb/meta
  2. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/pdf/1969ApJ…155..183S
  3. https://www.nature.com/articles/143239a0
  4. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0004-637X/692/2/1532/meta
x
2D vs 3D