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Do electrons lose mass due to revolving around nucleon?

  1. Aug 17, 2010 #1
    Does the nucleon and electron lose mass as a result of the energies they exert in a static state.
    The electron constantly uses the electromagnetic force to keep it attracted to the nucleon causing it to revolve around the nucleon. So does it lose mass?

    Similarly, does the nucleon lose mass through its use of the nuclear/electromagnetic forces?

    Are quantum vibrations of the atoms calculated in it's energy balance?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2010 #2


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    Forces don't work that way; it doesn't 'cost' energy to exert a force. Bound electrons don't lose mass. (Actually, they gain relativistic mass due to increased momentum)

    Yes, zero-point vibrational energy is taken into account when calculating the total energy of a molecule.
  4. Aug 17, 2010 #3
    This confuses me in regards to Thermodynamics. If an electron and proton are separate and they eventually float together. The electron experiences an increase in speed and thus relativistic mass, wont this be a violation of energy conservation? Where is the loss?
  5. Aug 17, 2010 #4
    No, the electron does not radiate any energy when it is bound to a nucleon, but the electron loses energy in the form of radiating energy (a 912 Angstrom UV photon) when it falls into the bound ground state. For example, the electron and proton masses (times c2) are about 511 keV and 938 MeV respectively, but when the electron is bound to the proton in a hydrogen atom, the mass of the atom is about 13.6 eV lower than the sum of the electron and proton masses.



    Bob S
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