ch31_print - Radioactivity 1 The Structure of the Nucleus...

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Radioactivity 1 – The Structure of the Nucleus The nucleus consists of protons (positively charged particles) and neu- trons (electrically neutral). The neutron is slightly heavier than the proton. The total number of protons and neutrons inside a nucleus is given by the atomic mass number A , with A = Z + N , where Z denotes the number of protons and N the number of neutrons. The protons and neutrons are strongly bound inside the nucleus in a tiny, approximately spherical region of radius r 10 - 15 m . What keeps the nucleus of flying apart due to the electrostatic repul- sive force between the protons ? A much stronger nuclear force, the strong force . To break a nucleus apart one needs to overcome the binding energy . The difference in the mass of the nucleus and the sum of the masses of its constituents is called the mass defect , Δ m . The binding energy corresponds to the rest energy of the mass defect, E 0 = Δ mc 2 .
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ch31_print - Radioactivity 1 The Structure of the Nucleus...

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