The Sun and the Hydrogen Bomb
It may sound weird, but the Sun and the hydrogen bomb have a lot of things in common, the fact that the sun is a big ball like hydrogen bomb(sort of), is, by itself, evident to this observation. But there is something more than this observation that makes them related to each other, from the way they work, to the way they (would) explode, explains this relation and observation better than anyone.
Where is the energy?
As you would expect, both the sun and the bomb use energy. You feel the temprature getting hotter and hotter throughout a sunny day. The bomb produces shockwaves, that desturb the particles around it, to move in a great speed. Hence, energy is involved. You feel the sun’s heat energy throughout the day, the particles are energised by the internal reactions in the bomb(we will talk about these later).
But where do they get the energy from?
The two main proccesses which produce energy, not only in these two devices, but the entire universe, are nuclear fission and fusion.
You may say that we get energy from the food we eat, but that food comes from plants, and plants recieve energy from the sun, which generates energy through this proccess.
Nuclear Fission and Fusion
Generally speaking, fusion means combining two or more things. (Fans of the hit show Dragon Ball Z know this better than anyone.) Fission is separating two or more things which are joined. So it is clear, that like action and reaction forces, Fusion and Fission are contradicting to each other.
The same goes for nuclear fission. This is most commonly seen in nuclear reactors and nuclear power plants. In nuclear fission, heavy elements, such as Uranium are bombarded with neutrons, a fundamental particle with no charge, inside reactor. The neutrons, upon hitting an atom, manage to split the nucleus( the sphere where neutrons and protons of an atom are located), releasing even more neutrons, and its turtles all the way down from here. The splitting of the nucleus, other than producing more neutrons, releases a great amount of energy, which is so huge, that most reactors have to be sprayed with water to contain the energy that is released. The energy released, is governed by Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc²(due to this equation, Einstein is also reffered to as the Father of the Bomb).In many reactors, this reaction occurs:-
n + U → Ba+ Kr + 3n + Energy;
where n represents a neutron, and all the elements have their usual meaning.
Nuclear Fusion, however, combines lighter elements, such as hydrogen, to make heavier elements, such as helium or deuterium(a isotope of hydrogen). And since there are a lot of hydrogen atoms, they keep combining till all of them are combined into helium, and then all the helium atoms start combining into Lithium and then it goes all the way down the periodic table(this is true in theory but not in practical, as we will see later). This combining, of course, releases a lot of energy. This is due to the fact that some protons or neutrons have to be pushed out or destryed to make room for the other neutrons and protons. This is governed by a very complicated equation, so I feel it would be better to not include it here, but link to the website that explains the equation is :- https://www.britannica.com/science/nuclear-fusion. Thus, the following reaction occurs in nuclear fusion:-
3H+ 2H → 4He + energy
where all elements have their usual meaning.
It is also interesting to note that this energy is much cleaner.
The reaches of Fusion are far lesser than that of Fission. You see, Iron is an important element. When all the particles in a system of fusion reactors reach to Iron( Fe), they undergo fission instead of fusion, and when all the particles in fission reactor reach iron, they undergo fusion. So, if you have a particular volume of hydrogen, you can only exract energy from it 26 times( the atomic number of iron is 26), while in the case of fission, you can extract the energy 66 times with the same volume of Uranium( atomic number of uranium is 92).
Mechanism of the Sun and the Bomb
The sun acts produces energy through nuclear fusion. As you might know, the universe, minutes after the big bang was filled with roughly 75% hydrogen, 23% helium and small amounts of Litium and Deuterium (simply because they are easiest to make due their low requirements of electrons, neutrons and protons). This hydrogen came together about 100 million years after the big bang, to form the first stars. So it should be no surprise that every star is made up of hydrogen and helium. In fact every element other than these 3( deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen) is believed to be made from fusion of the elements that preceed them. The sun similarly, fuses atoms of different species, if you will, to do two things, 1) To counter the gravitational forces and avoid collapsing on itself and 2) Maintain it’s energy output. The similar principle works with the hydrogen bomb, but it uses hydrogen extensively( hence the name hydrogen bomb.) Once all of the sun’s atoms reach iron, they will start fission, causing it to give into the gravitational pull and collapse on itself, perhaps becoming a white dwarf. This is expected to happen in about 5 billion years.
But another mechanism is used in hydrogen bomb. A small nuclear reactor, which fuses elements, i.e makes use of fusion, is placed inside of a casing, around which is a lot of uranium. When the bomb is triggered, the reactor starts fusion, which, as no means are available to contain it, releases energy out of the casing into the uranium chamber, and the surroundings, damaging everything in a small radius around it. But what follows is what makes the hydrogen bomb so frightening. As the energy is released, it is enough to exite the uranium atoms in the chamber to collide, sepreate and release even more, exponentially greater energy. And this sudden burst of energy is the main reason for which the hydrogen bomb is so feared. It releases double the energy than that of the nuclear bomb, using both fission and fusion.