Talk:Nuclear binding energy

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Multiple issues tag[edit]

Although some reorganization may be needed for this article, I think the organizational structure is sufficient at this time. Hopefully, this topic, with some background, is now described much better and has achieved a measure of clarity. I think the editors at WikiProject Physics can tweak this from time to time, and an expert is no longer required, but, of course is welcome. It appears to me that the copy editing question has been addressed, and is no longer a "pronounced" issue. Of course, as with any article it will need copy editing as editors work on this article over time. Based on the above rationale I have decided to remove the "multiple issues" tag, because it appears to give the wrong impression at this time (imho). In any case, no class 'C' article is perfect. -----Steve Quinn (talk) 18:05, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Rant on energy removed[edit]

The beginning of the article started with a confusing, poorly written discussion of energy in general. There is a Wiki on energy. Furthermore, many of the subtopics have little to do with energy (physics of nuclei, the nuclear force). If the material was especially relevant to nuclear energy it would be worth keeping, but sentences like "Turning on is used," are grammatical nonsense. I can't understand the meaning of 'energy is the capacity to change matter'; change matter how? Ideas of, "Energy surrounds all," sounds like preschool writing or mysticism. The idea that there are six forms of energy is pretty confusing, contradicts the wiki on energy, and nuclear energy is not one of those forms of energy (likely it falls under potential energy). I apologize for my blunt analysis, but this material is unhelpful here I my opinion. Syndicated below. DAID (talk) 16:26, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Former material:


A general, and simple, definition of energy in physical science, means the ability to do work. Work is described as a change in position, speed, state, or form of matter. Therefore, energy is the capacity to change matter. For example, every activity involves energy. Everything that happens in the universe, from the eruption of volcanoes, to the sprouting of seed, to the motions of people, takes energy. Turning on a motor, drive a car, cook on a stove or switch on a light, energy is used.[1]

Energy surrounds all. It is everywhere and abundant, yet it has no mass and can't be touched. However, the effects energy has on many materials can be seen, felt, or otherwise detected e.g. energy can produce motion, heat, or light. [1]

Energy comes in six forms and one of those forms is nuclear energy. These six forms of energy are all related. Each form can be converted or changed into the other forms. For example, when wood burns, its chemical energy changes into thermal (heat) energy and radiant (light) energy. Not all energy conversions are as simple as burning wood. Furthermore, energy cannot be created or destroyed, but as shown above, it can be transformed. [2]

Previous section on nuclear energy[edit]

Tried to clarify and make the section on nuclear energy discuss information strictly related to nuclear binding energy in a concise manner. Also generalized where appropriate so as not to be misleading. Former version syndicated below. DAID (talk) 17:19, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Former version:

Nuclear energy[edit]

A release of nuclear energy occurs when the nuclei of atoms are changed. Hydrogen and uranium are two kinds of matter used to produce nuclear energy. In a nuclear reaction, the tremendous binding energy inside a hydrogen or uranium nucleus is released.[3]

Nuclear energy is released during atomic fission, when uranium nuclei are split. It is also released during fusion, when hydrogen nuclei combine to form a helium nucleus. In fission and fusion, nuclear energy produces thermal energy, which is given off as heat. Fission's heat is used to generate electric power in hundreds of locations worldwide. The sun and other stars use fusion to generate radiant and thermal energy. As stars give off energy, they lose mass. Someday humans may be able to harness nuclear fusion as well.[3]

Nuclear energy also has other uses. In medicine, it is used in radiation therapy to treat cancer. The U.S. Navy uses nuclear energy to power some submarines and large ships. They can stay at sea for long periods without stopping to refuel, because their nuclear fuel takes up little space. [3]

-Thanks for your work on this article. Please keep up the good work. ----Steve Quinn (talk) 22:19, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Lede all screwed up[edit]

See mass-energy equivalence. Mass defect is NOT an explanation for nuclear power. It merely tracks that fact that energy has been extracted. Increase the binding energy per nucleon in a reaction, and the difference is released as active energy that can be used. That is why both fusion and fission release energy-- they both form medium-sized nuclei closer to iron and nickel, which are the most tightly bound of all, and have the highest binding energy per nucleon, and thus the largest mass-defect. Mass defect does not MAKE energy; rather removed energy (with its mass) results in mass defect. Mass defect is merely the "hole" left when energy has been made and removed. Don't confuse cause and effect. The cause is the forces involved. The mass defect is the result/effect you see when the energy has been extracted from the system, and its mass with it. SBHarris 08:15, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

So we have a system of storage of matter which is inefficient because everything cannot be stored in the center of the structure. So we develop a measuring system called a mass defect determination that quantifies a value for the off centeredness of the matter of the individual structures and we quantify the difference of the individual values from some determined average value for that number of accumulated mass defect values, and we determine that the most stable of the accumulated masses are those with the greatest negative deviation from the average mass defect value. Which sounds like a packaging problem. So we idealize the situation and decide that the best storage configuration for the structure would be a sphere and we immediately jump to the conclusion that the configuration of the stored masses has to have some variety of a spherical configuration. Which would be true if an attractive accumulative force were the only physical force acting within the process. However, we have other force factors and physical motion characteristics to deal with concerned with this accumulation process which might result in a different configuration related to the achievement of component compatibility. However we have also determined that this deviation value is related to the energy that is carried away from the atom as part of any decay process and have accordingly designated it as being equivalent to an amount of stored "binding energy".WFPM (talk) 22:12, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
Only spin-0 nuclei are assumed spheres-- the others are assumed to be prolate. And as far as the subject of this article, it doesn't matter if they are as cubical as Borg ships or Bizarro World-- in such cases the total binding energy (how much energy it would take to disassemble them in to free distant nucleons, which takes into account both repulsive and attractive forces) would still show up as a mass defect E/c^2 with regard to the sum of masses of that many free nucleons. SBHarris 22:29, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
So the zero spin nuclei are assumed spherical and the others prolate. And I like that idea because it implies accumulation in some direction away from the center. Maybe a sort of wrapping around process. And a more distant location involves the retention of some of the "free" energy that would be retained by the accumulated particle. And if the accumulation process involved an associative connection with one or more of the surface nucleons, the association factor might explain the tendency for the individually accumulated nucleons to have different amounts of lost free energy depending upon the degree of association. That might explain why too many excess neutrons have a tendency to cause alpha particle emission by having a minimum degree of association and imparting a quantity of structural instability to a localized site on the nucleus. That's what bothers me about EE62Sm144 being stable whereas EE62Sm146 is unstable and an alpha emitter. And additional extra neutrons are supposed to help stabilize this situation.WFPM (talk) 02:32, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
It is interesting to note your association of the word cubical (4 sided?) with Bizarro World. When you say spherical I immediately associate with the word cueball. Do you think those are meaningful associations?WFPM (talk) 17:24, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
If I were to give you a cueball and tell you "well here's your atomic model. All you have to do with it is to give it an axis of rotation with appropriate polar and equatorial designations. And then I want a set of 54 surface niches on the surface where I can store some additions. And then I also need 92 extendable tendrils sticking out from 92 little balls located inside the queball and moving around and about with each tendril controlling the motion of some small sticky pieces located at their ends". Would you rather deal with the complications of that than with the problems of your Bizarro World picture? Cheers.WFPM (talk) 02:53, 17 March 2013 UTC)
Cueball is the wrong metaphor. These things aren't particles stuck to each other in some kind of crystal matrix anymore than the electrons in an atom are stuck in, in fixed relation to each other. First, the thing is melted and free. Think of black and white marbles loose in a limited volume bag and you'll sleep better. But it's worse than that, since the marbles can go through each other, and while they take up volume, at the same time they don't always exclude other nucleons from that volume (a nucleon is also mostly empty space, remember, with just some pointlike quarks down inside). And yes, the neutrons and protons alway occupy orbitals, but these are wave functions and they are in a somewhat square or semi-potential so the wave functions don't look exponential-radial like electron waves in an atom. Instead, they look like harmonic oscillator quantum functions and have a lot of nodes that have nothing to do with their total angular momentum (which doesn't happen for electrons). Hence 1g orbitals where g is the mode number, not the angular momentum. And each nucleon moves through and interpenetrates all the others, since they're waves as well as particles. How can that be? I dunno. Nothing in our big world behaves that way. But small paricles in quantum mechanics do. That's all. Stop trying to find a perfectly fitting "totally particle" model for how they are confined in quantum conditions. It doesn't work. You can't do it, because they are not localized in space that well. They are also fuzzy waves. Or like fuzzy waves. But not like your billiard balls or any type of particle you've ever seen. SBHarris 01:21, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I like the cueball metaphor because it's a simple way of access to a complicated subject. If I'm looking for some working matter in something I don't want to get involved with irrelevant details. And the cueball doesn't contain many irrelevances. Inside of it will be Molecules or crystal unit cells with space and some atoms confined within it. then I get to the atoms and find them with some more space and then a group of nucleons. By now I'm up to to a pretty high density of matter like 10^14 grams/cc still looking for the matter. Now you tell me that the nucleon is still mostly empty space with the matter being 3 pointlike particles located somewhere within. And the density of the matter? There must be a limit somewhere. And the problem of the physics management is just getting more and more complicated. At that size you don't need to worry about angular momentum (stored kinetic energy), but just how you and Boscovich are able to imagine the linear forces capable in controlling the directional momentum of the particles to keep them within the confining volume. Like you say, it takes more and more energy to confine a particle within a smaller volume and the velocity limit is still c? But if you figure it out, I think you're ultimately going to find some matter small enough to carry the energy of the electromagnetic light beam because you're going to need it in support to your nucleon theory.WFPM (talk) 20:33, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
You might note that our entire problem with conceptual energy concept is related to an attempt to separate the conceptual entity (binding energy) from its physical relationship to the real physical entity (matter). We don't want to admit that there is no such thing as energy independent of matter and that energy is a quantitative energy value relationship related to the activity of matter. And we even have the quantitative interrelationship value at hand due to the relativity theory, but we don't want to admit that electromagnetic energy is propagated by particles of matter. And so we dream up non-material ways of propagation that are having a progressively harder time fitting into our concept of physical reality.WFPM (talk) 19:15, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Table of light-nuclei binding energies[edit]

The table of binding energies for light nuclei includes bare neutrons and protons. The neutron is correctly listed as having zero B.E., but the proton (H-1) has a non-zero value listed, along with non-zero derived quantities. The value shown, 13.6 eV, is the _atomic_ binding energy (i.e., the ionization energy of the hydrogen atom). The table should be corrected to have zeroes for H-1, just as for the neutron. (talk) 19:40, 18 February 2011 (UTC) (Michael H. Kelsey, SLAC)

These tables may be meant to be atomic binding energies = energy to disassemble an atom to free nucleons and electrons (not a nucleus plus electrons). It's not clear and I haven't had the heart to look up figures,to try to figure out what is meant. Does anybody care about atomic binding energies in the latter sense? SBHarris 23:19, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

The AMU mass value for OE1H3 (tritium) is 3.016049278 and that for EOHe3 (Helium 3) is 3.016029310 and the difference is insignificant (0.00002) and yet these two atoms have a different value for the sum of the masses of the constituemts. So how can OE1H3 spontaneously change to EOHe3. And, of course, it must be assumed that the OE1H3 atom does not split up in the process of becoming EO2He3. So it must be assumed that one of the 2 neutrons of the OE1H3 atom changes to a proton, and then the EOHe3 atom must acquire a stray electron. But the EO2He3 atom has a different (less) constituent mass value than does the OE1H3 atomic nucleus?WFPM (talk) 03:51, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

That difference of 0.00002 u is not insignificant. That is how much lighter an complete neutral atom of He-3 (with two electrons) is than a parent atom of H-3 (one electron). Multiply it by 931494 keV/u and you get (voila!) the decay energy of H-3, which is 18.6 keV. That's the lost energy as the heavier H-3 decays to the slightly lighter He-3. The reason we don't have to correct for the mass of particles is that the beta particle from H-3 can be thought of as being needed to complete a neutral atom of He-3, since H-3 breaks down to He-3+ plus a low-energy (up to 18.6 keV, don't you know) beta. Use the beta to complete the electron shell of He-3 to get a neutral atom, and all you have left is its kinetic energy plus whatever energy the antineutrino gets. (The decay energy is split randomly between them). Very occasionally, a H-3 decays to such a low energy beta that it remains bound to the He-3 and then you get bound-state beta decay. Neutral tritium decays then to neutral helium-3 in that case and the neutrino gets essentially all the 18.6 keV decay energy (which of course must be conserved, and thus removed somehow). See? SBHarris 23:08, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
I thank you for your consideration of this matter and your reply. I guess my confusion was related to the fact that the atom OE2He3 has 2 electrons whereas EO1H3 only has 1. I've already had somebody tell me that the extra neutron wants to change to a proton because all neutrons want to change to protons and in this case it just takes longer. But At the other end of the second period we have the opposite decay mode happening. And to an A=2Z element too! So I don't understand the instability of OO 9F18 when OO 3Li6, OO 5B10, and OO 7N14 were all stable. And I particularly don't think much of the idea of creating this "ground level" atom of OO9F18 by using 18mev protons to beat the h--- out of it! Sounds like that might leave it in some sort of activated condition, so I'd like to see some stored at 0 degrees K. But appreciate the reply effort.WFPM (talk) 03:41, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
F-18 is in an activated condition. Like all odd-odd (OO) nuclides it would like to change a proton to a neutron or vise versa so it can be EE. And it does when it emits a positron to go to O-18, leaving it with a magic 8 protons and an even 10 neutrons and not too much disparity between the numbers of each (which you cannot have with light nuclides for reasons explained in the article). Protons can decay to neutrons if they have enough reason to be protons, and in F-18 they do. A beta decay of F-18 would yeild Ne-18 which is just overloaded with protons-- it can get rid of two of them and go directly to double-magic stable 0-16 so why shouldn't it? The protons have charge and can be spat off, so there's no reason for Ne-18 to exist for long, or for F-18 to decay to it.

As for your Li-6, B-10 and N-14, what would you have them do? These are the only 3 stable OO nuclides other H-2 and they don't decay to EE for much the same reason H-2 doesn't-- it would leave an unstable product with a very lopsided P/N ratio. D-2 would give a diproton or dineutron. Li-6 would go to He-6 or Be-6, both of which are fantastic to think of, with 2:1 ratios of P and N. For B-10 you get C-10 and Be-10, and only Be-10 looks possible (though in reality it is radioactive with a long half life of millions of years). N-14 would have to decay to O-14 (far too many protons) or C-14, which looks like it might be likely stable, offhand. Of course it is not, and C-14 goes back to N-14, though it is close to stable. It and B-10 are the only close to stable isotopes considered as decay products. All heavier OO nuclides are radioactive with the exception of Ta-180m which is spin-inhibited from decaying-- it's just too easy for a OO nuclide on the stability P/N ratio line to decay to EE and get a double pair-up. With early equal change to beta or positron decay OO Cu-64 goes both ways!

The mystery with heavy OO nuclides is why there are *any* with really long half lives (long enough to be primordial), instead of just 4 of them. SBHarris 02:40, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You sound as if the decay mode of the atoms is related to some individual property of a specific proton or neutron. I see it as an excess kinetic energy control feature of the atomic nucleus related to its structure and the surrounding conditions. It's a balancing act. We've got the accumulating attracting forces that are capable of collaring a passing nucleon and putting it into a compatible location in a structure with various possible degrees of physical stress conditions. Like chipping at the corners as it were. Then the accumulation process continues under varying conditions of density and temperature that result in larger and larger structures, some of which may be more prone to the forces of destruction than others. Thus the atoms OO3LI6, OO5B10, OO7N14 are capable of surviving and even adding an extra neutron. Then comes EE8O16 which can hold 2 extra neutrons. And next comes 9F. At OO9F18 it is reportedly less stable than EE8O18. Well the mass deficit of 8O had bottomed out at -4737 atEE8O16 and risen back up to -809 for EO817, but they only let it rise to -781 at EE8O18 and after that it went to 3335 at EO8O19. So the value for 8O18 was biased down to -781 from the value 582 which would have been the straight line value between 8O17 and 8O19. Conversely the mass deficit value of 9F was on its way down from 1951 for 9F17, 873 for 9F18, and -1487 for 9F19. And the 9F18 value was biased up to 873 from the 445 straight line value between 9F17 and 9F19. So the mass excess value for EE8O16 looks undervalued for some reason. It has to do with there being 2 different classes of incremental deuteron mass values. The ones leading to even Z elements are low and the ones leading to odd Z elements are significantly higher. So I hate to use those values as the criteria for the relative stability property of the various isotopes.WFPM (talk) 22:44, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

You need to read and understand the terms in semi-empirical mass formula which predict all these effects you're confused about. Both protons and neutrons have a pairing energy with each other, so even Z and even N's both are lower in energy, all other things considered. The pairing energy alone, just from having odd N or odd Z, is about a MeV. For any given Z, the energy goes up and down as N goes even and odd. And odd Z's always have lower overall binding energy, which is why there are so few stable nuclides for odd Z elements (only 48 out of 254) and so many stable EE nuclides (more than half) and so few OOs (only 5). There's no mystery about why F-18 stands out between F-17 and F-19, it suffers from odd neutron number and the others don't. Likewise O-17 suffers from this but O-16 and O-18 don't. And of course O-16 does triply well from having both even P and N, and also from having magic 8 numbers for both. SBHarris 00:16, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I know that the formula has those curleques in favor of the Even Z elements, but they don't have any explanation other than a combination of theoretical caculations and adjustments to fit experimental values whereas I'd like to see a model. And I get angry when they tell me that they're wrong because my models touch each other and the real nucleons don't. I forgot to add that to the constituents of the cueball. Nothing can come into contact! It's all Boscovich's force vectors. I've made regression analysis and found about the double population of incremental deuteron masses and even done incremental alpha particle mass increases and found out that EE6C12 is farther from the minimum variance line than EE8O16. And some of the lower incremental neutron mass values are extraordinarily low and make you doubt the data. And I don't see anything in the model that relates to a set of "magic numbers". But what do I know? I know the isotope stability list can be changed to charts and better organized and understood, because most of the data is not related to the significant information data. And that the trend of the nucleoon accumulation process is in favor of the incremental accumulation of a proton plus 2 neutrons (or a deuteron plus an extra neutron) unless in runs into difficulties which I assume are physical problems. And conceptual models help keep things in mind.WFPM (talk) 03:12, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
The pairing energy of fermions comes from the fact that identical particles (like two neutrons or two protons) can fit into the exact same orbital (spin up, and spin down) without experiencing the Pauli force that repells them. So you gain in efficiency. This is not "ad hoc" handwaving-- the exact same thing happens in atoms, and is why free radicals are usually less stable (have less binding energy) than atoms and molecules with fully-paired electrons. Do you not understand why it happens in atoms with electrons? Why should it not happen in nuclei with nucleons?

No, the experimental mass formula has no magic numbers-- that's the only influence that isn't taken into account there (and it's why we believe there's something additional that needs explaining with magic numbers, which represent closed shells just as in the periodic table). So the semi-empirical mass formula gives mildly anomalous energy answers for nuclides what have P and N numbers that are magic or close to magic. Please read the magic number (physics) article. Carbon-12 is extremely close in mass defect per nucleon to O-16; I can't give you an offhand reason why the magic 8 number for O doesn't make itself known better, in that case. SBHarris 19:41, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Well it looks to me like the accumulation process was set up to catch neutrons because they're easier to catch. And it keeps going on until it captures a neutron with an attached proton (a deuteron). That unbalances the atomic structure. which then may or may not capture any more neutrons. However the first next extra neutron is capable of reducing the unbalance to the extent that it is possible for the atom to continue to catch extra neutrons which achieve stability with an odd number of extra neutron additions. And also if it captures too many excess neutrons, then it becomes unstable due to the relatively unstable binding of the extra neutrons without the paired proton and makes it possible for the less secure extra neutron to get changed to a proton and then paired with another excess neutron. And the positioning change is always in the direction of getting located closer to the center of the axis of rotation of the atom. And thinking about what I just said I realize that that doesn't explain the capture of the protons. It's been so many years ago. So I was capturing deuterons until I only caught just the neutron, which unbalanced the process. Capture involves spin compatibility and the attached proton is what captures the next neutron. And then the captured neutron drags its proton into the nucleus (ahead of it in the rotation). I assumed that the neutron had more mass than the proton because it rotated slower and the proton would rotate into position. Oh well.WFPM (talk) 21:43, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

In the May 1985 edition of the National Geographic Magazine there is a 20 page article entitled "the search for the atom" that involves an effort the use of words plus illustrations to explain the state of the art of knowledge concerning these matters. It is no doubt a very laudable effort to help people understand and visualize the concepts related to0 this subject matter and without the need for "reliable references". I was working on my models at the time and took an opinion of disbelief at the illustration of the depiction of the nucleus of the EE6C12 nucleus. So I called the author down in Florida and asked him if that was the best that he could do with respect to the EE6C12 nucleus concept. And he said that it was the best (consensus) concept that he could arrive at. So now here we are in 2013 with the modern concepts in Wikipedia about the EE6C12 nucleus and I don't think that we have made much progress. See Triple-alpha process But I admire the 1985 article very much and wish that you could bring it up for discussion where maybe somebody with a good concept of real physical entities can dream up a rational concept. Obviously the author was interested in the subject matter and should be lauded for his efforts for that purpose and not criticized for his lack of references.WFPM (talk) 20:05, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

wrong plural form[edit]

in the intro is says "nucleus" the correct plural form is nuclei — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thevampdiaries (talkcontribs) 22:32, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Iron-56 vs. nickel-62[edit]

I removed this line of "talk" from the main page: "It is unclear what is meant by 'most efficiently bound nucleus.' Nickel-62 has the highest binding energy per nucleon. It therefore is the most stable nuclide," which was added from Discuss it here.

"Most efficiently bound nucleus," if it correctly describes iron-56, should mean lowest mass per nucleon, which is different from binding energy per nucleon. "The most stable nuclide" is almost equally unclear to "most efficiently bound nucleus". Both iron-56 and nickel-62, along with many nuclides, are 100% stable and will never decay on their own. Though I think iron-56 has a more important distinction in general, as this is the binding energy page, maybe nickel-62 should be the example. Morngnstar (talk) 04:49, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Note that EE26Fe56 is stable with 4 extra neutrons, whereas EE28Ni62 is likewise stable but with 6 extra neutrons. The presumption is that atoms have a process of accumulating excess neutrons within a range of the A = 2Z value up to some limit where they incur an alpha particle emission problem. This occurs in the case of 26Fe at EO26Fe59 with a halflife of 44.91 days and in the case of 28Ni at EO28Ni65 with a halflife of 2.617 hours. So they're pretty equal with a slight stability bias in favor of EE26Fe56.WFPM (talk) 06:17, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

"Hypothetical" strong force[edit]

Nuclear energy is usually "explained" by a hypothetical strong force. However, it has been shown [4] that it may be obtained by a similar formula with values intermediate between the Einstein mass and the Rydberg constant...

Ok I can't help but notice my crackpot alert going off with this statement, or this entire section titled "Nuclear and chemical energies" for that matter. Since when has the strong interaction been relegated to the rank of "hypothetical"? The standard model is still working as of 2013!
I skimmed over the paper in Ref 4 and the argument here seems to be that you could calculate the "binding energy" of a proton + neutron (deuteron) system using electromagnetism, classically (no mention of Hamiltonians or QED whatsoever). Perhaps an expert might be able to share some opinions here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Freiddie (talkcontribs) 15:13, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't call myself an expert, but my goodness, I'm surprised that's been there awhile. It looks like it was added Sept/Oct 2011 by User:Bschaeffer who was pushing the same fringe physics idea on a number of pages, all based on his own published paper. IMO, like you noted, any statement saying that the strong force is hypothetical should be suspect and would need a very reliable source. I'm going to be bold and remove that entire section as per WP:FRINGE and WP:COI. --FyzixFighter (talk) 01:50, 9 April 2013 (UTC)


This article says: "Thus, the mass of an atom's nucleus is always less than the sum of the individual masses of the constituent protons and neutrons when separated"

The article Nuclear fission says: "The total rest masses of the fission products (Mp) from a single reaction is less than the mass of the original fuel nucleus (M)"

I'm no expert in physics, but is there no contradiction between these two statements? Seemannstreue (talk) 10:03, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Not really: in nuclear fission, a large nucleus (heavier than iron) is split into smaller ones, which are stronger bound, thus energy is released and the total mass of the fragments is lower. If you were to split each of the fragments all the way down to individual protons and neutrons, you would have to invest energy and the total mass of the constituents would become larger. This is in principle explained in this article, but not yet in the most accessible way. — HHHIPPO 10:42, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

In comparing the mass Nubase mass defect values, you're looking at the rest mass plus the remaining fission energy left in the nucleus, and the isotope with the lowest (most negative or least positive) value is either the most stable or least unstable of the isotopes of any particular atomic number.WFPM (talk) 06:14, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Solar Binding Energy[edit]

This section reads like a history of the Sol system rather than a general description of the binding energies that may occur in stars of particular types and ages. Using our sun as an example would be a fine side note, but should not be the main thrust of this section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Odinbolt (talkcontribs) 22:28, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

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  2. ^ "Forms of Energy". Energy Education is an interactive curriculum supplement for secondary-school science students, funded by the U. S. Department of Energy and the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). U. S. Department of Energy and the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  3. ^ a b c "Nuclear Energy". Energy Education is an interactive curriculum supplement for secondary-school science students, funded by the U. S. Department of Energy and the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). U. S. Department of Energy and the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-10.