Is the Mass Defect in Heavy Nuclei Well Supported by Scientific Evidence?

  • Thread starter granpa
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In summary, the masses of atoms are determined by measuring the deflection of their ions in magnetic fields. We know that heavy nuclei do not produce stronger magnetic fields because their charge vs. mass ratio is the only thing being measured and it is not affected by the other protons in the nucleus.
  • #1
granpa
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how sure are we that heavy nuclei are less massive than the sum of their constituent particles? the masses of atoms are determined by sending their ions through magnetic fields and measuring how much they are deflected. how do we know that heavy nuclei don't simply produce, at any given velocity, slightly stronger magnetic fields than lighter nuclei?
 
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  • #2
The nuclei bend in Magnetic fields due to their own charge. The magnetic field is external, the only thing you are measuring of the nuclei is their charge vs. mass ratio.

So there is not a magnetic field beeing produced by the nucleus.. only electric charge, which electric field is additative.

There was a crackpot here almost a year ago who claimed that the other protons in the nuclei whould sheild the charge from the protons inside, hence resulting in a smaller net charge than the sum of the constituent protons... but as he didn't know, equal charges do not screen...
 
  • #3


The concept of mass defect, or the difference between the mass of a nucleus and the sum of its constituent particles, has been extensively studied and verified through various experiments and theoretical calculations. Therefore, we can be fairly confident that heavy nuclei are indeed less massive than the sum of their constituent particles.

One of the main pieces of evidence for this is the observation of nuclear binding energy. This is the energy that holds the nucleus together and is responsible for the mass defect. The existence of binding energy has been confirmed through multiple experiments, such as nuclear reactions and nuclear decay.

Additionally, the masses of atoms are not solely determined by their deflection in magnetic fields. Other methods, such as mass spectrometry and nuclear reactions, are also used to measure the masses of atoms. These methods have been extensively tested and validated, providing further evidence for the existence of mass defect in heavy nuclei.

Furthermore, the idea that heavy nuclei could simply produce stronger magnetic fields at any given velocity has been considered and ruled out by numerous experiments and theoretical calculations. The laws of physics and the behavior of particles at the nuclear level have been extensively studied and are well understood, making it highly unlikely that such a scenario could occur.

In summary, while it is always important to question and test scientific theories, the evidence supporting the existence of mass defect in heavy nuclei is strong and has been extensively studied and validated. Therefore, we can be confident in the understanding that heavy nuclei are indeed less massive than the sum of their constituent particles.
 

Related to Is the Mass Defect in Heavy Nuclei Well Supported by Scientific Evidence?

1. What is a heavy nucleus?

A heavy nucleus is a term used to describe a nucleus that contains a large number of protons and neutrons. These nuclei are typically found in elements with high atomic numbers, such as uranium or plutonium. They are also referred to as heavy elements.

2. What is a mass defect?

A mass defect is the difference between the mass of a nucleus and the sum of the masses of its individual protons and neutrons. This difference is due to the conversion of mass into energy during the formation of the nucleus. It is an important concept in nuclear physics and is often used to calculate the binding energy of a nucleus.

3. How is mass defect related to nuclear binding energy?

The mass defect of a nucleus is directly proportional to its binding energy. This means that the larger the mass defect, the greater the binding energy and the more stable the nucleus is. In other words, the stronger the nuclear forces that hold the protons and neutrons together, the larger the mass defect and the more tightly bound the nucleus is.

4. Can mass defect be measured?

Yes, mass defect can be measured using mass spectrometry techniques. By comparing the mass of an element's nucleus to the sum of its individual particles, scientists can determine the mass defect and thus the binding energy of the nucleus.

5. How does mass defect play a role in nuclear reactions?

Mass defect plays a crucial role in nuclear reactions. In nuclear fusion reactions, where two nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, the mass defect is converted into energy in the form of heat and light. In nuclear fission reactions, where a heavy nucleus splits into smaller nuclei, the mass defect is also converted into energy, which is harnessed in nuclear power plants.

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