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Is binding energy positive or negative?

  1. Nov 7, 2004 #1
    Hey Everyone,
    This is a quick question.. is binding energy positive or negative? I'm pretty confused now, because in some places the definition was:

    The energy released when the nucleus of an atom is formed by combining neutrons and protons.

    And in other places:

    the energy required to decompose a nucleus into its component nucleons

    Dont they both imply different signs? Please clarify..
    Thank you..
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2004 #2

    James R

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    Binding energies are taken as positive, so use either definition and ignore negative signs.
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