Project Planning



Question1: What was done in the determination of the best way to purify theUranium Isotopes

Inthe search to identify the best way possible for achieving uraniumpurification which was a rather difficult procedure, the scientistsadopted various techniques that were complicated (AJ, 2015). Thescientists identified physical separation techniques which targetedthe differences in atomic weights that were notable in the uraniumisotopes (AJ, 2015).

Thefirst technique that was employed was the ElectromagneticMethodwhich was spearheaded by Nier (AJ, 2015). He used a mass spectrometerwhich allowed charged particles to pass through a magnetic field.Success would be achieved when the lighter isotope atoms aredeflected more by the electromagnetic field as compared to theheavier ones. Receivers would then be used to collect the twodifferent kinds of atoms. The second technique was GaseousDiffusionwhich would achieve separation by the application of the principlethat, lighter isotopes, as opposed to the heavier ones, would readilypass through a barrier that is porous (AJ, 2015). This process wasled by Dunning and his Columbia University colleagues.

Thethird technique employed the use of a Centrifugewhich applied a principle similar to the cream separator. Thisprocess was spearheaded by Jesse Beams (AJ, 2015). The fourthtechnique that was used was the LiquidThermal Diffusion(AJ, 2015). In this process, a highly pressurized liquid was passedbetween two vertical pipes. A water jacket cooled the outer wall in arotating motion. The inner walls were heated using steam that waspressurized. The aftermath was that the lighter isotopes would beconcentrated closer to the hotter wall while the heavier isotopeswould accumulate next to the colder wall.

Thefact that the scientists opted to try all the four options indicatedthat cost was not a factor in the identification of the best possiblemethod which they would later on apply. The factor that was criticalto the scientists was the method that had the capability to workefficiently and within the shortest possible time, given that the waroutcome was glaring and that program funds were readily available.Question2: The advantages and disadvantages of the methods mentioned above

Eachmethod that was tried out had both advantages and disadvantages. Thelists below identify the merits and demerits of each of theprocesses, which will be discussed as well.

  1. Electromagnetic Method


  • Separation facilitated by magnetic deflection:

Electromagneticdeflection promoted separation. Deflection of the lighter isotopewould facilitate its collection, and this allowed for the isotopeseparation.


  • Time-consuming and costly:

Itwould take quite a while before the separation of uranium quantitieswould be facilitated

  1. Gas Diffusion


  • High concentration yield:

GaseousDiffusion was based on a well-known principle which proved to berather promising in the separation of high concentration uranium 235.

  • Based on known principles:

Thefact that this method was based on known principles, a betterunderstanding of its application was notable.


  • Costly:

Achievingseparation of the two uranium isotopes was expensive.

  1. Centrifuge


  • Based on a known principle:

Separationwas facilitated after rapid spinning using the cream separatorprinciple.


  • Process technicalities:

Thisprocedure was still in the developmental stages and so, technicalchallenges marred its application in the uranium purificationprocess. The procedure required the running of multiple centrifugerotors which were affected by technical issues (AJ, 2015). Therequirements for the process were demanding as well thus adding tothe technical challenges that were encountered.

  1. Liquid Thermal Diffusion


  • Separation facilitated by both pressure and temperature differences as well as the column length:

Longercolumns facilitated separation where convection currents would allowthe lighter isotopes to settle at the top most area of the column

  • Applied a known principle:

Theprinciple that hot air rises was used to ensure that the lighterisotopes were


  • Novel procedure:

Thisprocedure was still under development similarly to the otherseparation methods meaning that technical issues were imperative.

Question3: The purification techniques that were combined and those that wereeliminated towards the end of the program

Bythe time the Manhattan program was coming to a close, some of thepurification methods were combined and operated in series. Here, thepurification methods which achieved isotope separation by the end ofthe program constituted the use of gaseous diffusion techniques,electromagnetic separation by mass, and the use of thermal diffusion.The three purification methods that were adopted were operated inseries where S-50 was the first stage followed by the K-25 stagewhich was later on followed by the Y-12 stage. In the third stage,the uranium enrichment that was available could be used in nuclearweapons. However, the process that was abandoned was the separationby the use of centrifuge (AJ, 2015).Question4: Lessons learnt from the Manhattan Project (the Brute-force style)

Forany company that works on the cutting edge of science and technology,brute force is of critical importance. In the history of inventions,trials and errors were present and by the time success was achievedin a given project, multiple resources were utilized. The ManhattanProject, for instance, incorporated brute force in the achievement ofuranium purification where in the end, success was imminent. Theprogram incorporated project planning techniques that were superb.Sound project planning is critical for any given project to achievesuccess. The planning phase provides a road map for the execution andcontrol processes as mentioned by NY Guide (2002). Project goals,deliverables, schedules, and support plans ought to be identified(Haughey, 2009). The leaders of the Manhattan project had definedroles and were put to task with giving feedback during meetings andpresentations concerning their points of view regarding the progresson their ends. It is such feedback that can help in theidentification of the working ability of a particular method. In sodoing, the identification of loopholes that would require projectimprovement become identifiable. The lack of this kind ofaccountability and responsibility among the key staff in a projecthas been attributed to project failures with a good example being thecase of Woody 2000 Project (Wideman, 2015). This project was marredby hurdles which would have been prevented if the key players in theproject exercised accountability and responsibility and if thetransition through the project lifecycle was done in an orderlymanner.

Giventhe technical issues that are involved in the industries that mergescience and technology like phone companies, it is advisable forthese enterprises to have project management guide tips in theirhands. The project leaders ought to be conversant with projectmanagement techniques where loopholes can be identified with multipletrials and errors, in the bid to crack the code in ascertaining theoption that is working and shunning the ones that are questionable.


AJ.(2015). The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb. RetrievedOctober 28, 2016, from

Haughey.,D. (2009). a Step by Step Guide. Retrieved October28, 2016, from

NYGuide (2002). Management`s Guide to Project Success. (Planning: Sec.3.3) Retrieved October 28, 2016, from

Wideman,M. (2015). Project management case study: The Custom WoodworkingCompany Woody 2000 project. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from