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Neutron energy

  1. Nov 12, 2009 #1
    I've never really understood how a bound neutron can have a kinetic energy and potential energy associated with it. Further, I'm not sure that I quite understand what the potential energy of a free neutron means. I know that these questions might be rather elementary, but when I stopped to think about what these concepts actually meant, I wasn't sure I quite understood. Thanks to anyone who can explain!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2009 #2
    Hi there,

    Don't think I understand your question completely!!!

    A bound neutron, by the meaning of bound, must have potential energy. A neutron bound to a nucleus is under the influence of the strong nuclear interaction. Therefore, when or if the nucleus desintegrate, the neutron is "shot" out of the region with some kinetic energy.

  4. Nov 13, 2009 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Let's start from the start. Why is a neutron different from any other object? As an example, the moon has kinetic energy, it has gravitational potential energy, and it's bound to the earth. A passing asteroid also has kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy, even though it's not bound to the earth.

    What do you see is different for neutrons?
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