# Are electronic and nuclear binding energies a + or - number?

• geoelectronics
In summary, mass deficit and nuclear binding energy are closely related concepts. Mass deficit is essentially the binding energy measured in mass units. There are two different sign conventions for binding energy, with one considering it as a negative number and the other as a positive number. However, the negative sign convention makes more sense as it represents the energy that is taken away from the system to put it into a bound state. Therefore, if the mass is deficit, then the energy is also deficit and they can be considered as the same thing. Thank you.
geoelectronics
TL;DR Summary
What is the difference between nuclear binding energy and mass deficit?
Please explain the difference between mass deficit and nuclear binding energy and is there a relationship?

Thanks

Geo

Mass deficit is binding energy in mass units.

Thank you. That makes sense to me.
Does that mean the binding energy is a negative number, so actually a higher number means more negative?

Thank you.
Geo

geoelectronics said:
Does that mean the binding energy is a negative number, so actually a higher number means more negative?

I have seen both sign conventions in the literature. Having it have a negative sign makes more sense to me, since it is energy that gets taken away from the system in order to put it into its bound state. But in, for example, the nuclear physics literature, it seems like the positive sign convention is much more common.

weirdoguy
OK Thank you. I have lived with the same confusion for decades.
I will go on assuming that if the mass is deficit, then the energy is deficit and the relationship is they are the same thing.

The missing negative sign was really confusing me.

Geo

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## 1. What are electronic and nuclear binding energies?

Electronic and nuclear binding energies refer to the amount of energy required to hold together the electrons and the nucleus of an atom, respectively. These energies are essential for the stability and structure of all matter.

## 2. Are electronic and nuclear binding energies positive or negative numbers?

Electronic and nuclear binding energies can be both positive and negative numbers. The sign of the energy depends on the type of bond and the atoms involved. Generally, the binding energy is positive for covalent bonds and negative for ionic bonds.

## 3. How are electronic and nuclear binding energies measured?

Electronic and nuclear binding energies are measured in units of electron volts (eV). This unit represents the amount of energy that an electron gains or loses when it moves through a potential difference of one volt.

## 4. What factors affect the magnitude of electronic and nuclear binding energies?

The magnitude of electronic and nuclear binding energies is affected by the distance between the electrons and the nucleus, as well as the number of electrons and protons in an atom. Other factors such as the atomic number and the type of bond also play a role.

## 5. Why are electronic and nuclear binding energies important in chemistry?

Electronic and nuclear binding energies are crucial in chemistry as they determine the stability and reactivity of atoms and molecules. These energies also play a significant role in chemical reactions and the formation of chemical bonds.

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