Modeling Fusion with Cookies

Fusion occurs when two ions in a plasma collide with enough energy to merge together. This releases a lot of energy. Scientists would like to find a way to control fusion so we can use the energy that is released. We can use this energy for electrical power, which will make us less dependent on fossil fuels.

What you need:
Cookies as a Model for Fusion

In this activity, cookies will act like atoms in a fusion reaction. Fusion occurs when heat is added to atoms, giving them enough energy to collide and stick together. In this case, the microwave will add the energy to heat the “atoms” (cookies).

1.    Put two equally sized pieces of cookie dough on the wax paper, about 1 inch apart.
2.    Mass the cookies and write your measurement in the table.
3.    Put the cookies in the microwave for 1 minute.
4.    Let the cookies (your new element) cool for 1 minute.
5.    Mass them again and record on your table. What’s the difference in mass before and after fusion (cooking)? The missing mass is like the energy released by fusion!

How does this compare to real fusion?
In real fusion… 
In the cookie experiment…
Atoms Raw Cookies
New element (2 atoms fused together) 
Baked cookie
Heat energy from electromagnetic waves Heat energy from microwaves (which is an electromagnetic wave)
Mass lost is energy we can use.
Mass lost is due to water loss.

Data Table

Mass before cooking Mass after cooking
Atom 1

Atom 2    

Total Mass 

Difference between before and after cooking  


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This page updated on March 17, 2008