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Physics
Albert Einstein
Nuclear Weapons
Bombs and Explosive Materials

Whats the difference between an atom bomb and a hydrogen bomb?

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December 05, 2009 9:48PM

The atomic bomb was a pure fission device, utilsing compression of a sub-critical uranium (Little Boy) (or plutonium: the Fat Man nuclear weapon) to cause an explosion.

The H-bomb is a 'hybrid' device utilising a 'primary' charge that is effectivly an atomic bomb but a 'secondary' charge is also used, a container of hydrogen (deuterium and/or tritium) which undergoes fusion due to the heat/pressure/neutrons released by the primary.

Atom: pure fission
H-bomb: fission/fusion hybrid