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Specific Charge

  1. May 14, 2013 #1
    Hi all,

    I am having trouble understanding how to calculate specific charge. I know that it is charge/mass.

    But what charge are they referring to? For instance an atom may be charged + or - and may not be charged at all. In that instance are we referring to the extra charge that exceeds the positive or negative charge?

    What is the specific charge of a U-238?

    Please show me some work outs. especially showing for charged and uncharged atoms. (assuming uncharged contains extra protons or electrons)

    ...or is it neutral atoms do not apply.

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2013 #2
    Do all nuclei have equal number of protons and electrons therefore are not charged at all. I mean when they initially they write the atom symbol showing the atomic number and nucleon number without showing the number of electrons.
  4. May 15, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    "Charge" is the charge of the whole object you are considering. Neutral objects have a specific charge of zero. If you ionize the U-238, it gets a non-zero specific charge.
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