# Guessing decay modes

## Main Question or Discussion Point

how can we guess the possible decay modes for an element with three given quantities: A, Z and mass difference in MeV

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mfb
Mentor
Mass difference to what?
You can check the masses of the nuclides that would be produced from the different decay modes, and see if such a decay is possible.

dukwon
Gold Member
Mass difference to what?
I assume "mass difference" means "mass defect", i.e. the difference between the mass of the nucleus and its component nucleons (when unbound)

• steph17
e.bar.goum
• steph17
Mass difference to what?
You can check the masses of the nuclides that would be produced from the different decay modes, and see if such a decay is possible.
i was taught too the equation of mass difference of calculating the difference between the initial and final masses of the nuclides, but in the question that i was given only one element was mentioned, i got confused over there. for eg mass difference of hydrogen(A=1,Z=1)= 7.289 MeV, mass difference of Nb(A=92, Z=41)= -86.448 MeV, mass difference of Rb(A=92, Z=37)=-75.12MeV

Or can we just ignore the mass difference data and calculate the neutron-proton ratio and compare it to the valley of stability?

mfb
Mentor
i was taught too the equation of mass difference of calculating the difference between the initial and final masses of the nuclides, but in the question that i was given only one element was mentioned, i got confused over there.
You can look it up, if necessary.
Or can we just ignore the mass difference data and calculate the neutron-proton ratio and compare it to the valley of stability?
To get a rough estimate, yes, but it won't work for every isotope.