Hey, I'm having a hard time trying to understand what nuclear binding energy really means. In most of the introductory texts I have, they say some of the mass of the nucleus appears as binding energy (mass defect). According to the definition, shouldn't it just be the work done by strong interaction minus work done by electrostatic forces while assembling the nucleus. If we had a mathematical equation for the strong interaction, could we calculate the binding energy by integrating it over displacement from infinity. I don't understand how exactly it is related to the mass defect. Unfortunately I still don't fully understand the theory of relativity. Any idea how I should proceed? I'd like to getbatleast the basic idea of what it really is. Thanks in Advance!