# Understanding Binding Energy: The Hidden Mass Conversion Process

• weltza
In summary, the mass of a hydrogen atom is smaller than the combined masses of a proton and an electron due to the conversion of mass into binding energy. This binding energy is a result of the interaction between the proton and the electron, meaning that it does not solely come from either constituent. This explains the decrease in mass of the system compared to the mass of its individual parts.
weltza
The mass of the hydrogen atom is smaller than the sum of the masses of a proton and an electron. The mass difference is converted into binding energy. Mass was converted, and you know where it went (into binding energy). Where did the mass come from, the electron or proton??

Mass was not converted into energy.
The mass of a hydrogen atom is M_hyd=M_p +m_e +U_binding,
with U_binding=-13.6 eV.

did the binding energy come from the proton or the electron, is what I'm asking.

What clem is saying is "neither". There are three terms in his expression, and it comes from the third term.

The binding energy comes from the interaction of both the electron and the proton. Togehter they'll draw each other down into a potential, and since Energy = mass, the total system will have mass less than mass of lone constituents.

## What is binding energy?

Binding energy is the energy required to keep the components of an atom together. It is the amount of energy that would be released if the nucleus of an atom were to be split into its individual parts.

## How is binding energy related to mass conversion?

According to Einstein's famous equation, E=mc^2, mass and energy are interchangeable. Binding energy is the energy that is released when the mass of an atom is converted into energy. This is known as the mass-energy equivalence.

## What is the significance of binding energy in nuclear reactions?

In nuclear reactions, the binding energy of the reactants and products is crucial. The total binding energy of the products must be greater than the total binding energy of the reactants in order for the reaction to occur. This is known as the binding energy per nucleon rule.

## How is binding energy calculated?

The binding energy of an atom can be calculated by subtracting the mass of the individual components (protons, neutrons, and electrons) from the mass of the atom. This difference in mass is then converted into energy using the equation E=mc^2.

## What are some real-world applications of understanding binding energy?

Understanding binding energy is essential in fields such as nuclear physics, nuclear energy production, and nuclear medicine. It also plays a crucial role in understanding the formation and stability of atoms in the universe.

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