What is Nuclear binding energy: Definition and 26 Discussions

Nuclear binding energy is the minimum energy that is required to disassemble the nucleus of an atom into its constituent protons and neutrons, known collectively as nucleons. The binding energy is always a positive number, as the nucleus must gain energy for the nucleons to move apart from each other. Nucleons attracted to each other by the strong nuclear force.
The mass of an atomic nucleus is less than the sum of the individual masses of the free constituent protons and neutrons. The difference in mass can be calculated by the Einstein equation, E=mc2, where E is the nuclear binding energy, c is the speed of light, and m is the difference in mass, This 'missing mass' is known as the mass defect, and represents the energy that was released when the nucleus was formed.The term "nuclear binding energy" may also refer to the energy balance in processes in which the nucleus splits into fragments composed of more than one nucleon. If new binding energy is available when light nuclei fuse (nuclear fusion), or when heavy nuclei split (nuclear fission), either process can result in release of this binding energy. This energy may be made available as nuclear energy and can be used to produce electricity, as in nuclear power, or in a nuclear weapon. When a large nucleus splits into pieces, excess energy is emitted as gamma rays and the kinetic energy of various ejected particles (nuclear fission products).
These nuclear binding energies and forces are on the order of one million times greater than the electron binding energies of light atoms like hydrogen.

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  1. hongseok

    B Is Comparing Binding Energy and Mass to Kinetic and Potential Energy Valid?

    Can I understand the relationship between binding energy and mass by comparing it to the relationship between kinetic energy and potential energy? When an object falls, its gravitational potential, a scalar value, decreases, and its energy is converted into kinetic energy. Even when a nuclear...
  2. ValeForce46

    I Separation energy of nucleons and Coulomb barrier

    My professor and the book I'm reading (Particles and Nuclei: An Introduction to the Physical Concepts by Povh et al.) says that "The emitted nucleons are primarily neutrons since they are not hindered by the Coulomb threshold" which means that a neutron has a separation energy lower than a...
  3. F

    B Why don't neutrons bind into large out of control masses?

    I'm trying to understand why neutrons don't just continually bind into large masses. As I understand it proton binding in a nucleus is governed mostly by the strong nuclear force which attracts at close distance and electromagnet force that repels. So for protons to bind, they must have enough...
  4. M

    Understanding Nuclear Stability: The Role of Binding Energy

    This is an example from my textbook that I am having trouble understanding. So the binding energy of Beryllium-8 is positive 56.6 MeV, so it means the nuclide is stable, right? My textbook seems to use the reference of positive binding energy as being stable. And so that means alpha decay for...
  5. D

    B Is Radioactive Decay Uncaused/Causeless?

    I know that it has a cause! It happens to make the nucleus more stable. But some say it has no cause. I am confused actually.
  6. A

    B Nuclear Binding Energy: Is my understanding correct?

    The binding energy of a nucleus is the energy of the strong force, minus the disruptive energy due to the Coulomb force. Thus, to illustrate the curve of binding energy per nucleon, we can combine both of the diagrams above: https://www.physicsforums.com/attachments/3-jpg.248607/...
  7. Leonardo Machado

    I Myers mass formula to find the valley of stability for A=56

    Hi everyone. I'm currently trying to master the use of the formula for nuclear masses from MYERS AND SWIATECKI (1969), https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0003491669902024. $$ E=[-a_1+J\delta^2+0.5(K\epsilon^2-2L\epsilon \delta^2 +M\delta^4)]A+c_2 Z^2 A^{1/3}...
  8. N

    I Why do stars only produce up to iron and nickel

    I know it's a common question but I've found no answers online so far. My professor has made a point out of saying that fusion reactions after iron and nickel do release energy but just not enough to keep the star from imploding. This didn't make sense to me. How would fission release energy if...
  9. A

    I End Point Energy and Q value in beta decay

    I know that Q value of a reaction is the difference between total initial mass-energy and total final mass-energy of all the products. Then shouldn't be this also the maximum kinetic energy and hence endpoint energy of an electron in beta decay. But what I have read endpoint energy ##E_0 = Q +...
  10. A

    Where is nuclear binding energy stored?

    I understand that the difference in mass between the protons and neutrons and the nucleus itself is called the mass defect, and that this mass defect is converted into nuclear binding energy. What seems to confuse me is where this energy is actually stored. I've been reading 4-5 different...
  11. B

    Nuclear binding energy problem

    What is the nuclear binding energy of N-14 in joules per mole of nuclei? The mass deficit is 0.11278. Atomic mass is 14.00307. Total mass is 14.11585. I keep getting stuck after converting and substituting it into the equation. First I converted the mass deficit into kilograms. 0.11278 =1.1278 ×...
  12. Hercuflea

    Nuclear binding energy and mass difference

    Homework Statement The textbook on nuclear physics I am going through says: "The atomic weight M of a nuclide of mass number A can be found in the mass difference, ##\Delta##, given in column 3. The quantity ##\Delta = M-A## gives the difference between the nuclides atomic weight and its...
  13. G

    Nuclear Binding Energy Confusion

    I read that nuclear binding energy is the energy required to separate a nucleus into its comprising nucleons. Why then is mass defect calculated from this? How is the nuclear binding energy graph used to calculate energy released from fusion? Please explain in layman's terms, if you could...
  14. HakimPhilo

    How the nuclear binding energy gives mass to the nucleus?

    Hello everybody! :wink: I have some difficulties concerning the concept of nuclear binding energy. First, look at this example: http://www.freeimagehosting.net/newuploads/jtefo.png In the first case, the two protons have big energy. But this energy is not changing it's weight. And in the...
  15. S

    Nuclear Binding Energy: Exploring the Basics

    Hey, I'm having a hard time trying to understand what nuclear binding energy really means. In most of the introductory texts I have, they say some of the mass of the nucleus appears as binding energy (mass defect). According to the definition, shouldn't it just be the work done by strong...
  16. H

    Nuclear Binding Energy (wikipedia is confusing)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_binding_energy What is nuclear binding energy ? Here are two possible answers according to the Wikipedia page : 1.Nuclear binding energy is the energy required to split a nucleus of an atom into its component parts. 2.Nuclei are made up of protons and...
  17. H

    What is the total binding energy in MeV/c2 for N-14?

    Okay I'm taking an Individual Learning Course in Ontario for SPH4U and this is a Support question: How much energy would be required to remove one neutron from nitrogen-14 isotope, given these masses? a) N-14 isotope 14.0031 u b) N-13 isotope 13.0057 u Homework Equations Knowns...
  18. H

    Why does the nuclear binding energy curve rise and fall?

    If the total nuclear binding energy of a nucleus increases whenever the number of nucleons increase, why does the nuclear binding energy curve rise and then fall? Don't protons and neutrons 'bring in' the same amount of binding energy every time one of them is added? Please explain. In addition...
  19. L

    Nuclear Binding Energy: Equal Proton-Neutron Ratio

    Revered Members, For Helium, Beryllium,Carbon,Oxygen and Neon, the Binding Energy per nucleon is more as evident from the sharp peaks observed in the graph plotted between BE and Mass number. These elements have equal number of protons and neutrons. When there is an inequality between proton...
  20. P

    Stability of Products: Nuclear binding energy vs Enthelpy

    I want to get my head around this... Why is that in nuclear fusion, the formed nucleus is more stable because its nuclear binding energy/nucleon is HIGHER than the sum of its reactants But in general chemical reactions products are more stable if their enthalpy is LOWER than the sum of...
  21. M

    Confused about nuclear binding energy

    hi there, now I've been googling around for ages now trying to find this answer but i cant i have read time and time again that a nucleus always has less mass than the sum of the masses of the nucleons in it. This is put down to the binding energy, this is where i get confused surely if it...
  22. J

    Nuclear binding energy problem

    Hi, could someone please try and figure out where I'm going wrong here. This is a calculation for a collision between 2 helium-3 nuclei which produces 1 helium-4 nucleus and 2 protons. The numbers are taken from wikipedia. Mass before = 2(3.0160293 u) = 6.0320586 u Mass after = 1 helium-4...
  23. P

    Nuclear Binding Energy: What Does it Really Mean?

    Binding energy of a nucleus is defined as the energy required to separate all of its protons and neutrons and move them infinitely far apart. Does that mean it requires an infinite amount of energy to liberate the nucleons and move them a distance infinitely apart? That doesn't make any sense...
  24. N

    Nuclear Binding Energy, Fission and Fusion

    So I understand that when a nucleus is formed from its individual nucleons, that there will be a decrease in mass known as the mass defect. The mass defect can be equally converted to energy following E = mc^2 and this is the nuclear binding energy. Now, is this energy released into the...
  25. T

    Nuclear Binding Energy: Is Conservation of Energy Violated?

    We know that induvidual nucleons are heavier than the nucleus. So Nucleons should have more gravitational potential energy with respect to the rest of the universe than the nucleus. Doesn't this violate the law of conservation of energy ?
  26. maverick280857

    Question about Nuclear Binding energy and stability

    Hello all Here's a question I need some help with: There are two nuclei X and Y [Binding Energy of X = a and Binding Energy of Y = 2a]. Also Binding Energy per nucleon for X = 2b and Binding Energy per nucleon for Y is b. Then which one of the following is true: (A) X is always more...