11. Conservation of Mass,       Charge, and Energy   Previous PageNext Page
       Mass and Energy: Nuclear Reactions

What is the mass loss per nucleon for the atom, compared with its component protons, neutrons, and electrons?

The atom contains 26 protons, 26 electrons, and 30 neutrons, so the mass calculation is performed as opposite:

Notice that the mass loss per nucleon, and hence the binding energy per nucleon, is greater for iron than for helium. This means that the iron nucleus is more stable relative to protons and neutrons than the helium nucleus is. If some combination of helium nuclei could be induced to produce an iron nucleus, energy would be given off, which would correspond to the increased stability of the product nucleus per nuclear particle.

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