Hire a tutor

What is mass defect in nuclear reactions?

The mass defect in nuclear reactions is the difference between the mass of the reactants and products.

During a nuclear reaction, the total mass of the reactants is not equal to the total mass of the products. This is due to the conversion of some mass into energy, as described by Einstein's famous equation, E=mc². The mass defect is the difference between the mass of the reactants and the mass of the products, and is a measure of the amount of mass that has been converted into energy.

The mass defect can be calculated using the equation Δm = Zmp + (A-Z)mn - m, where Δm is the mass defect, Z is the atomic number, A is the mass number, mp is the mass of a proton, mn is the mass of a neutron, and m is the mass of the nucleus. The mass defect is usually expressed in atomic mass units (amu).

The mass defect is an important concept in nuclear physics, as it is directly related to the binding energy of the nucleus. The binding energy is the energy required to break up the nucleus into its individual nucleons, and is related to the mass defect by the equation E = Δmc². The binding energy per nucleon is a measure of the stability of the nucleus, and nuclei with higher binding energies per nucleon are more stable.

Study and Practice for Free

Trusted by 100,000+ Students Worldwide

Achieve Top Grades in your Exams with our Free Resources.

Practice Questions, Study Notes, and Past Exam Papers for all Subjects!

Need help from an expert?

4.92/5 based on480 reviews

The world’s top online tutoring provider trusted by students, parents, and schools globally.

Related Physics a-level Answers

    Read All Answers
    Loading...