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College Physics for AP® Courses

31.3 Substructure of the Nucleus

College Physics for AP® Courses31.3 Substructure of the Nucleus
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Introduction: The Nature of Science and Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 1.1 Physics: An Introduction
    3. 1.2 Physical Quantities and Units
    4. 1.3 Accuracy, Precision, and Significant Figures
    5. 1.4 Approximation
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
  3. 2 Kinematics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 2.1 Displacement
    3. 2.2 Vectors, Scalars, and Coordinate Systems
    4. 2.3 Time, Velocity, and Speed
    5. 2.4 Acceleration
    6. 2.5 Motion Equations for Constant Acceleration in One Dimension
    7. 2.6 Problem-Solving Basics for One Dimensional Kinematics
    8. 2.7 Falling Objects
    9. 2.8 Graphical Analysis of One Dimensional Motion
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  4. 3 Two-Dimensional Kinematics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 3.1 Kinematics in Two Dimensions: An Introduction
    3. 3.2 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Graphical Methods
    4. 3.3 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Analytical Methods
    5. 3.4 Projectile Motion
    6. 3.5 Addition of Velocities
    7. Glossary
    8. Section Summary
    9. Conceptual Questions
    10. Problems & Exercises
    11. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  5. 4 Dynamics: Force and Newton's Laws of Motion
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 4.1 Development of Force Concept
    3. 4.2 Newton's First Law of Motion: Inertia
    4. 4.3 Newton's Second Law of Motion: Concept of a System
    5. 4.4 Newton's Third Law of Motion: Symmetry in Forces
    6. 4.5 Normal, Tension, and Other Examples of Force
    7. 4.6 Problem-Solving Strategies
    8. 4.7 Further Applications of Newton's Laws of Motion
    9. 4.8 Extended Topic: The Four Basic Forces—An Introduction
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  6. 5 Further Applications of Newton's Laws: Friction, Drag, and Elasticity
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 5.1 Friction
    3. 5.2 Drag Forces
    4. 5.3 Elasticity: Stress and Strain
    5. Glossary
    6. Section Summary
    7. Conceptual Questions
    8. Problems & Exercises
    9. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  7. 6 Gravitation and Uniform Circular Motion
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 6.1 Rotation Angle and Angular Velocity
    3. 6.2 Centripetal Acceleration
    4. 6.3 Centripetal Force
    5. 6.4 Fictitious Forces and Non-inertial Frames: The Coriolis Force
    6. 6.5 Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation
    7. 6.6 Satellites and Kepler's Laws: An Argument for Simplicity
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  8. 7 Work, Energy, and Energy Resources
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 7.1 Work: The Scientific Definition
    3. 7.2 Kinetic Energy and the Work-Energy Theorem
    4. 7.3 Gravitational Potential Energy
    5. 7.4 Conservative Forces and Potential Energy
    6. 7.5 Nonconservative Forces
    7. 7.6 Conservation of Energy
    8. 7.7 Power
    9. 7.8 Work, Energy, and Power in Humans
    10. 7.9 World Energy Use
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  9. 8 Linear Momentum and Collisions
    1. Connection for AP® courses
    2. 8.1 Linear Momentum and Force
    3. 8.2 Impulse
    4. 8.3 Conservation of Momentum
    5. 8.4 Elastic Collisions in One Dimension
    6. 8.5 Inelastic Collisions in One Dimension
    7. 8.6 Collisions of Point Masses in Two Dimensions
    8. 8.7 Introduction to Rocket Propulsion
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  10. 9 Statics and Torque
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 9.1 The First Condition for Equilibrium
    3. 9.2 The Second Condition for Equilibrium
    4. 9.3 Stability
    5. 9.4 Applications of Statics, Including Problem-Solving Strategies
    6. 9.5 Simple Machines
    7. 9.6 Forces and Torques in Muscles and Joints
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  11. 10 Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 10.1 Angular Acceleration
    3. 10.2 Kinematics of Rotational Motion
    4. 10.3 Dynamics of Rotational Motion: Rotational Inertia
    5. 10.4 Rotational Kinetic Energy: Work and Energy Revisited
    6. 10.5 Angular Momentum and Its Conservation
    7. 10.6 Collisions of Extended Bodies in Two Dimensions
    8. 10.7 Gyroscopic Effects: Vector Aspects of Angular Momentum
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  12. 11 Fluid Statics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 11.1 What Is a Fluid?
    3. 11.2 Density
    4. 11.3 Pressure
    5. 11.4 Variation of Pressure with Depth in a Fluid
    6. 11.5 Pascal’s Principle
    7. 11.6 Gauge Pressure, Absolute Pressure, and Pressure Measurement
    8. 11.7 Archimedes’ Principle
    9. 11.8 Cohesion and Adhesion in Liquids: Surface Tension and Capillary Action
    10. 11.9 Pressures in the Body
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  13. 12 Fluid Dynamics and Its Biological and Medical Applications
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 12.1 Flow Rate and Its Relation to Velocity
    3. 12.2 Bernoulli’s Equation
    4. 12.3 The Most General Applications of Bernoulli’s Equation
    5. 12.4 Viscosity and Laminar Flow; Poiseuille’s Law
    6. 12.5 The Onset of Turbulence
    7. 12.6 Motion of an Object in a Viscous Fluid
    8. 12.7 Molecular Transport Phenomena: Diffusion, Osmosis, and Related Processes
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  14. 13 Temperature, Kinetic Theory, and the Gas Laws
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 13.1 Temperature
    3. 13.2 Thermal Expansion of Solids and Liquids
    4. 13.3 The Ideal Gas Law
    5. 13.4 Kinetic Theory: Atomic and Molecular Explanation of Pressure and Temperature
    6. 13.5 Phase Changes
    7. 13.6 Humidity, Evaporation, and Boiling
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  15. 14 Heat and Heat Transfer Methods
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 14.1 Heat
    3. 14.2 Temperature Change and Heat Capacity
    4. 14.3 Phase Change and Latent Heat
    5. 14.4 Heat Transfer Methods
    6. 14.5 Conduction
    7. 14.6 Convection
    8. 14.7 Radiation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  16. 15 Thermodynamics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 15.1 The First Law of Thermodynamics
    3. 15.2 The First Law of Thermodynamics and Some Simple Processes
    4. 15.3 Introduction to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Heat Engines and Their Efficiency
    5. 15.4 Carnot’s Perfect Heat Engine: The Second Law of Thermodynamics Restated
    6. 15.5 Applications of Thermodynamics: Heat Pumps and Refrigerators
    7. 15.6 Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Disorder and the Unavailability of Energy
    8. 15.7 Statistical Interpretation of Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: The Underlying Explanation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  17. 16 Oscillatory Motion and Waves
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 16.1 Hooke’s Law: Stress and Strain Revisited
    3. 16.2 Period and Frequency in Oscillations
    4. 16.3 Simple Harmonic Motion: A Special Periodic Motion
    5. 16.4 The Simple Pendulum
    6. 16.5 Energy and the Simple Harmonic Oscillator
    7. 16.6 Uniform Circular Motion and Simple Harmonic Motion
    8. 16.7 Damped Harmonic Motion
    9. 16.8 Forced Oscillations and Resonance
    10. 16.9 Waves
    11. 16.10 Superposition and Interference
    12. 16.11 Energy in Waves: Intensity
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
    17. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  18. 17 Physics of Hearing
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 17.1 Sound
    3. 17.2 Speed of Sound, Frequency, and Wavelength
    4. 17.3 Sound Intensity and Sound Level
    5. 17.4 Doppler Effect and Sonic Booms
    6. 17.5 Sound Interference and Resonance: Standing Waves in Air Columns
    7. 17.6 Hearing
    8. 17.7 Ultrasound
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  19. 18 Electric Charge and Electric Field
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 18.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge
    3. 18.2 Conductors and Insulators
    4. 18.3 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium
    5. 18.4 Coulomb’s Law
    6. 18.5 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited
    7. 18.6 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges
    8. 18.7 Electric Forces in Biology
    9. 18.8 Applications of Electrostatics
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  20. 19 Electric Potential and Electric Field
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 19.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
    3. 19.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field
    4. 19.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge
    5. 19.4 Equipotential Lines
    6. 19.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics
    7. 19.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel
    8. 19.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  21. 20 Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 20.1 Current
    3. 20.2 Ohm’s Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits
    4. 20.3 Resistance and Resistivity
    5. 20.4 Electric Power and Energy
    6. 20.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current
    7. 20.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body
    8. 20.7 Nerve Conduction–Electrocardiograms
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  22. 21 Circuits, Bioelectricity, and DC Instruments
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 21.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel
    3. 21.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage
    4. 21.3 Kirchhoff’s Rules
    5. 21.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters
    6. 21.5 Null Measurements
    7. 21.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  23. 22 Magnetism
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 22.1 Magnets
    3. 22.2 Ferromagnets and Electromagnets
    4. 22.3 Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines
    5. 22.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field
    6. 22.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications
    7. 22.6 The Hall Effect
    8. 22.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor
    9. 22.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters
    10. 22.9 Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Ampere’s Law
    11. 22.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors
    12. 22.11 More Applications of Magnetism
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
    17. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  24. 23 Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits, and Electrical Technologies
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 23.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux
    3. 23.2 Faraday’s Law of Induction: Lenz’s Law
    4. 23.3 Motional Emf
    5. 23.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping
    6. 23.5 Electric Generators
    7. 23.6 Back Emf
    8. 23.7 Transformers
    9. 23.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices
    10. 23.9 Inductance
    11. 23.10 RL Circuits
    12. 23.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive
    13. 23.12 RLC Series AC Circuits
    14. Glossary
    15. Section Summary
    16. Conceptual Questions
    17. Problems & Exercises
    18. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  25. 24 Electromagnetic Waves
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 24.1 Maxwell’s Equations: Electromagnetic Waves Predicted and Observed
    3. 24.2 Production of Electromagnetic Waves
    4. 24.3 The Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 24.4 Energy in Electromagnetic Waves
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
    10. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  26. 25 Geometric Optics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 25.1 The Ray Aspect of Light
    3. 25.2 The Law of Reflection
    4. 25.3 The Law of Refraction
    5. 25.4 Total Internal Reflection
    6. 25.5 Dispersion: The Rainbow and Prisms
    7. 25.6 Image Formation by Lenses
    8. 25.7 Image Formation by Mirrors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  27. 26 Vision and Optical Instruments
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 26.1 Physics of the Eye
    3. 26.2 Vision Correction
    4. 26.3 Color and Color Vision
    5. 26.4 Microscopes
    6. 26.5 Telescopes
    7. 26.6 Aberrations
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  28. 27 Wave Optics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 27.1 The Wave Aspect of Light: Interference
    3. 27.2 Huygens's Principle: Diffraction
    4. 27.3 Young’s Double Slit Experiment
    5. 27.4 Multiple Slit Diffraction
    6. 27.5 Single Slit Diffraction
    7. 27.6 Limits of Resolution: The Rayleigh Criterion
    8. 27.7 Thin Film Interference
    9. 27.8 Polarization
    10. 27.9 *Extended Topic* Microscopy Enhanced by the Wave Characteristics of Light
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  29. 28 Special Relativity
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 28.1 Einstein’s Postulates
    3. 28.2 Simultaneity And Time Dilation
    4. 28.3 Length Contraction
    5. 28.4 Relativistic Addition of Velocities
    6. 28.5 Relativistic Momentum
    7. 28.6 Relativistic Energy
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  30. 29 Introduction to Quantum Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 29.1 Quantization of Energy
    3. 29.2 The Photoelectric Effect
    4. 29.3 Photon Energies and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 29.4 Photon Momentum
    6. 29.5 The Particle-Wave Duality
    7. 29.6 The Wave Nature of Matter
    8. 29.7 Probability: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
    9. 29.8 The Particle-Wave Duality Reviewed
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  31. 30 Atomic Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 30.1 Discovery of the Atom
    3. 30.2 Discovery of the Parts of the Atom: Electrons and Nuclei
    4. 30.3 Bohr’s Theory of the Hydrogen Atom
    5. 30.4 X Rays: Atomic Origins and Applications
    6. 30.5 Applications of Atomic Excitations and De-Excitations
    7. 30.6 The Wave Nature of Matter Causes Quantization
    8. 30.7 Patterns in Spectra Reveal More Quantization
    9. 30.8 Quantum Numbers and Rules
    10. 30.9 The Pauli Exclusion Principle
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  32. 31 Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 31.1 Nuclear Radioactivity
    3. 31.2 Radiation Detection and Detectors
    4. 31.3 Substructure of the Nucleus
    5. 31.4 Nuclear Decay and Conservation Laws
    6. 31.5 Half-Life and Activity
    7. 31.6 Binding Energy
    8. 31.7 Tunneling
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  33. 32 Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 32.1 Medical Imaging and Diagnostics
    3. 32.2 Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation
    4. 32.3 Therapeutic Uses of Ionizing Radiation
    5. 32.4 Food Irradiation
    6. 32.5 Fusion
    7. 32.6 Fission
    8. 32.7 Nuclear Weapons
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  34. 33 Particle Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 33.1 The Yukawa Particle and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Revisited
    3. 33.2 The Four Basic Forces
    4. 33.3 Accelerators Create Matter from Energy
    5. 33.4 Particles, Patterns, and Conservation Laws
    6. 33.5 Quarks: Is That All There Is?
    7. 33.6 GUTs: The Unification of Forces
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  35. 34 Frontiers of Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 34.1 Cosmology and Particle Physics
    3. 34.2 General Relativity and Quantum Gravity
    4. 34.3 Superstrings
    5. 34.4 Dark Matter and Closure
    6. 34.5 Complexity and Chaos
    7. 34.6 High-Temperature Superconductors
    8. 34.7 Some Questions We Know to Ask
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  36. A | Atomic Masses
  37. B | Selected Radioactive Isotopes
  38. C | Useful Information
  39. D | Glossary of Key Symbols and Notation
  40. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
    17. Chapter 17
    18. Chapter 18
    19. Chapter 19
    20. Chapter 20
    21. Chapter 21
    22. Chapter 22
    23. Chapter 23
    24. Chapter 24
    25. Chapter 25
    26. Chapter 26
    27. Chapter 27
    28. Chapter 28
    29. Chapter 29
    30. Chapter 30
    31. Chapter 31
    32. Chapter 32
    33. Chapter 33
    34. Chapter 34
  41. Index

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Define and discuss the nucleus in an atom.
  • Define atomic number.
  • Define and discuss isotopes.
  • Calculate the density of the nucleus.
  • Explain nuclear force.

The information presented in this section supports the following AP® learning objectives and science practices:

  • 3.G.3.1 The student is able to identify the strong force as the force that is responsible for holding the nucleus together. (S.P. 7.2)

What is inside the nucleus? Why are some nuclei stable while others decay? (See Figure 31.12.) Why are there different types of decay (αα size 12{α} {}, ββ size 12{β} {} and γγ size 12{γ} {})? Why are nuclear decay energies so large? Pursuing natural questions like these has led to far more fundamental discoveries than you might imagine.

The first image shows a lump of coal. The second image shows a pair of hands holding a metal uranium disk. Third image shows a cylindrical glass tube containing slivery-brown cesium.
Figure 31.12 Why is most of the carbon in this coal stable (a), while the uranium in the disk (b) slowly decays over billions of years? Why is cesium in this ampule (c) even less stable than the uranium, decaying in far less than 1/1,000,000 the time? What is the reason uranium and cesium undergo different types of decay (αα size 12{α} {} and ββ size 12{β} {}, respectively)? (credits: (a) Bresson Thomas, Wikimedia Commons; (b) U.S. Department of Energy; (c) Tomihahndorf, Wikimedia Commons)

We have already identified protons as the particles that carry positive charge in the nuclei. However, there are actually two types of particles in the nuclei—the proton and the neutron, referred to collectively as nucleons, the constituents of nuclei. As its name implies, the neutron is a neutral particle (q=0q=0 size 12{q=0} {}) that has nearly the same mass and intrinsic spin as the proton. Table 31.2 compares the masses of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Note how close the proton and neutron masses are, but the neutron is slightly more massive once you look past the third digit. Both nucleons are much more massive than an electron. In fact, mp=1836memp=1836me size 12{m rSub { size 8{p} } ="1836" m rSub { size 8{e} } } {} (as noted in Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics and mn=1839memn=1839me size 12{m rSub { size 8{n} } ="1839" m rSub { size 8{e} } } {}.

Table 31.2 also gives masses in terms of mass units that are more convenient than kilograms on the atomic and nuclear scale. The first of these is the unified atomic mass unit (u), defined as

1 u=1.6605×1027 kg.1 u=1.6605×1027 kg. size 12{"1 u"=1 "." "6605"´"10" rSup { size 8{-"27"} } " kg"} {}
31.1

This unit is defined so that a neutral carbon 12C12C atom has a mass of exactly 12 u. Masses are also expressed in units of MeV/c2MeV/c2. These units are very convenient when considering the conversion of mass into energy (and vice versa), as is so prominent in nuclear processes. Using E=mc2E=mc2 size 12{E= ital "mc" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} and units of mm size 12{m} {} in MeV/c2MeV/c2 size 12{"MeV/"c rSup { size 8{2} } } {}, we find that c2c2 size 12{c rSup { size 8{2} } } {} cancels and EE size 12{E} {} comes out conveniently in MeV. For example, if the rest mass of a proton is converted entirely into energy, then

E=mc2=(938.27 MeV/c2)c2=938.27 MeV.E=mc2=(938.27 MeV/c2)c2=938.27 MeV. size 12{E= ital "mc" rSup { size 8{2} } = \( "938" "." "27" "MeV/"c rSup { size 8{2} } \) c rSup { size 8{2} } ="938" "." "27"" MeV"} {}
31.2

It is useful to note that 1 u of mass converted to energy produces 931.5 MeV, or

1 u=931.5 MeV/c2.1 u=931.5 MeV/c2. size 12{"1 u"="931" "." 5" MeV/"c rSup { size 8{2} } } {}
31.3

All properties of a nucleus are determined by the number of protons and neutrons it has. A specific combination of protons and neutrons is called a nuclide and is a unique nucleus. The following notation is used to represent a particular nuclide:

ZAXN,ZAXN, size 12{"" lSub { size 8{Z} } lSup { size 8{A} } X rSub { size 8{N} } } {}
31.4

where the symbols AA size 12{A} {}, XX size 12{X} {}, ZZ size 12{Z} {} , and NN size 12{N} {} are defined as follows: The number of protons in a nucleus is the atomic number ZZ size 12{Z} {}, as defined in Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics. X is the symbol for the element, such as Ca for calcium. However, once ZZ size 12{Z} {} is known, the element is known; hence, ZZ size 12{Z} {} and XX are redundant. For example, Z=20Z=20 size 12{Z="20"} {} is always calcium, and calcium always has Z=20Z=20 size 12{Z="20"} {}. NN size 12{N} {} is the number of neutrons in a nucleus. In the notation for a nuclide, the subscript NN size 12{N} {} is usually omitted. The symbol AA size 12{A} {} is defined as the number of nucleons or the total number of protons and neutrons,

A=N+Z,A=N+Z, size 12{A=N+Z} {}
31.5

where AA size 12{A} {} is also called the mass number. This name for AA size 12{A} {} is logical; the mass of an atom is nearly equal to the mass of its nucleus, since electrons have so little mass. The mass of the nucleus turns out to be nearly equal to the sum of the masses of the protons and neutrons in it, which is proportional to AA size 12{A} {}. In this context, it is particularly convenient to express masses in units of u. Both protons and neutrons have masses close to 1 u, and so the mass of an atom is close to AA size 12{A} {} u. For example, in an oxygen nucleus with eight protons and eight neutrons, A=16A=16 size 12{A="16"} {}, and its mass is 16 u. As noticed, the unified atomic mass unit is defined so that a neutral carbon atom (actually a 12C12C size 12{"" lSup { size 8{"12"} } C} {} atom) has a mass of exactly 12 uu size 12{u} {}. Carbon was chosen as the standard, partly because of its importance in organic chemistry (see Exercise 34.31.

Particle Symbol kg u MeVc2
Proton p 1 . 67262 × 10 27 1 . 67262 × 10 27 size 12{1 "." "67262" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - "27"} } } {} 1.007276 938.27
Neutron n 1 . 67493 × 10 27 1 . 67493 × 10 27 size 12{1 "." "67493"´"10" rSup { size 8{-"27"} } } {} 1.008665 939.57
Electron e 9 . 1094 × 10 31 9 . 1094 × 10 31 size 12{9 "." "1094"´"10" rSup { size 8{-"31"} } } {} 0.00054858 0.511
Table 31.2 Masses of the Proton, Neutron, and Electron

Let us look at a few examples of nuclides expressed in the ZAXNZAXN notation. The nucleus of the simplest atom, hydrogen, is a single proton, or 11H11H (the zero for no neutrons is often omitted). To check this symbol, refer to the periodic table—you see that the atomic number ZZ of hydrogen is 1. Since you are given that there are no neutrons, the mass number AA is also 1. Suppose you are told that the helium nucleus or αα particle has two protons and two neutrons. You can then see that it is written 24He224He2. There is a scarce form of hydrogen found in nature called deuterium; its nucleus has one proton and one neutron and, hence, twice the mass of common hydrogen. The symbol for deuterium is, thus, 12H112H1 (sometimes DD is used, as for deuterated water D2 OD2 O). An even rarer—and radioactive—form of hydrogen is called tritium, since it has a single proton and two neutrons, and it is written 13H213H2. These three varieties of hydrogen have nearly identical chemistries, but the nuclei differ greatly in mass, stability, and other characteristics. Nuclei (such as those of hydrogen) having the same ZZ size 12{Z} {} and different NN size 12{N} {} s are defined to be isotopes of the same element.

There is some redundancy in the symbols AA size 12{A} {}, XX size 12{X} {}, ZZ size 12{Z} {}, and NN size 12{N} {} . If the element XX size 12{X} {} is known, then ZZ size 12{Z} {} can be found in a periodic table and is always the same for a given element. If both AA size 12{A} {} and XX size 12{X} {} are known, then NN size 12{N} {} can also be determined (first find ZZ size 12{Z} {}; then, N=AZN=AZ size 12{N=A-Z} {}). Thus the simpler notation for nuclides is

AX,AX, size 12{"" lSup { size 8{A} } X} {}
31.6

which is sufficient and is most commonly used. For example, in this simpler notation, the three isotopes of hydrogen are 1H, 2H,1H, 2H, and 3H,3H, while the αα particle is 4He4He. We read this backward, saying helium-4 for 4He4He, or uranium-238 for 238U238U. So for 238U238U, should we need to know, we can determine that Z=92Z=92 for uranium from the periodic table, and, thus, N=23892=146N=23892=146 size 12{N="238"-"92"="146"} {}.

A variety of experiments indicate that a nucleus behaves something like a tightly packed ball of nucleons, as illustrated in Figure 31.13. These nucleons have large kinetic energies and, thus, move rapidly in very close contact. Nucleons can be separated by a large force, such as in a collision with another nucleus, but resist strongly being pushed closer together. The most compelling evidence that nucleons are closely packed in a nucleus is that the radius of a nucleus, rr size 12{r} {}, is found to be given approximately by

r=r0A1/3,r=r0A1/3, size 12{r=r rSub { size 8{0} } A rSup { size 8{1/3} } } {}
31.7

where r0=1.2 fmr0=1.2 fm and AA is the mass number of the nucleus. Note that r3Ar3A size 12{r rSup { size 8{3} } µA} {}. Since many nuclei are spherical, and the volume of a sphere is V=(4/3)πr3V=(4/3)πr3 size 12{V= \( 4/3 \) pr rSup { size 8{3} } } {}, we see that VAVA size 12{V prop A} {} —that is, the volume of a nucleus is proportional to the number of nucleons in it. This is what would happen if you pack nucleons so closely that there is no empty space between them.

This figure shows group of small green and blue spherical objects placed very close to each other forming a bigger sphere representing the nucleus. Blue spheres are labeled as protons and green spheres are labeled as neutrons.
Figure 31.13 A model of the nucleus.

Nucleons are held together by nuclear forces and resist both being pulled apart and pushed inside one another. The volume of the nucleus is the sum of the volumes of the nucleons in it, here shown in different colors to represent protons and neutrons.

Example 31.1 How Small and Dense Is a Nucleus?

(a) Find the radius of an iron-56 nucleus. (b) Find its approximate density in kg/m3kg/m3, approximating the mass of 56Fe56Fe to be 56 u.

Strategy and Concept

(a) Finding the radius of 56Fe56Fe is a straightforward application of r=r0A1/3,r=r0A1/3, given A=56A=56. (b) To find the approximate density, we assume the nucleus is spherical (this one actually is), calculate its volume using the radius found in part (a), and then find its density from ρ=m/Vρ=m/V. Finally, we will need to convert density from units of u/fm3u/fm3 to kg/m3kg/m3.

Solution

(a) The radius of a nucleus is given by

r=r0A1/3.r=r0A1/3.
31.8

Substituting the values for r0r0 and AA yields

r = (1.2 fm)(56)1/3=(1.2 fm)(3.83) = 4.6 fm. r = (1.2 fm)(56)1/3=(1.2 fm)(3.83) = 4.6 fm.
31.9

(b) Density is defined to be ρ=m/Vρ=m/V, which for a sphere of radius rr is

ρ=mV=m(4/3)πr3.ρ=mV=m(4/3)πr3.
31.10

Substituting known values gives

ρ = 56 u (1.33)(3.14) (4.6 fm)3 = 0.138 u/fm3. ρ = 56 u (1.33)(3.14) (4.6 fm)3 = 0.138 u/fm3.
31.11

Converting to units of kg/m3kg/m3, we find

ρ = (0.138 u/fm3) ( 1.66×10–27kg/u ) ( 1 fm 10–15m ) = 2.3×1017kg/m3. ρ = (0.138 u/fm3) ( 1.66×10–27kg/u ) ( 1 fm 10–15m ) = 2.3×1017kg/m3.
31.12

Discussion

(a) The radius of this medium-sized nucleus is found to be approximately 4.6 fm, and so its diameter is about 10 fm, or 10–14m10–14m. In our discussion of Rutherford’s discovery of the nucleus, we noticed that it is about 10–15m10–15m in diameter (which is for lighter nuclei), consistent with this result to an order of magnitude. The nucleus is much smaller in diameter than the typical atom, which has a diameter of the order of 10–10m10–10m.

(b) The density found here is so large as to cause disbelief. It is consistent with earlier discussions we have had about the nucleus being very small and containing nearly all of the mass of the atom. Nuclear densities, such as found here, are about 2×10142×1014 times greater than that of water, which has a density of “only” 103kg/m3103kg/m3. One cubic meter of nuclear matter, such as found in a neutron star, has the same mass as a cube of water 61 km on a side.

Nuclear Forces and Stability

What forces hold a nucleus together? The nucleus is very small and its protons, being positive, exert tremendous repulsive forces on one another. (The Coulomb force increases as charges get closer, since it is proportional to 1/r21/r2 size 12{1/r rSup { size 8{2} } } {}, even at the tiny distances found in nuclei.) The answer is that two previously unknown forces hold the nucleus together and make it into a tightly packed ball of nucleons. These forces are called the weak and strong nuclear forces. Nuclear forces are so short ranged that they fall to zero strength when nucleons are separated by only a few fm. However, like glue, they are strongly attracted when the nucleons get close to one another. The strong nuclear force is about 100 times more attractive than the repulsive EM force, easily holding the nucleons together. Nuclear forces become extremely repulsive if the nucleons get too close, making nucleons strongly resist being pushed inside one another, something like ball bearings.

The fact that nuclear forces are very strong is responsible for the very large energies emitted in nuclear decay. During decay, the forces do work, and since work is force times the distance (W=FdcosθW=Fdcosθ size 12{W= ital "Fd""cos"θ} {}), a large force can result in a large emitted energy. In fact, we know that there are two distinct nuclear forces because of the different types of nuclear decay—the strong nuclear force is responsible for αα size 12{α} {} decay, while the weak nuclear force is responsible for ββ size 12{β} {} decay.

The many stable and unstable nuclei we have explored, and the hundreds we have not discussed, can be arranged in a table called the chart of the nuclides, a simplified version of which is shown in Figure 31.14. Nuclides are located on a plot of NN size 12{N} {} versus ZZ size 12{Z} {}. Examination of a detailed chart of the nuclides reveals patterns in the characteristics of nuclei, such as stability, abundance, and types of decay, analogous to but more complex than the systematics in the periodic table of the elements.

A chart of nuclides is shown with x axis labeled as number of protons or atomic number with range zero to one hundred ten and y axis labeled as number of neutrons with range zero to one hundred sixty. A straight dashed line is shown for equal atomic number and number of nuclides. A number of points are plotted above the dashed line. The region up to atomic number eighty and neutron number one hundred thirty is shown as stable nuclei and above this region is unstable nuclei.
Figure 31.14 Simplified chart of the nuclides, a graph of NN size 12{N} {} versus ZZ size 12{Z} {} for known nuclides. The patterns of stable and unstable nuclides reveal characteristics of the nuclear forces. The dashed line is for N=ZN=Z size 12{N=Z} {}. Numbers along diagonals are mass numbers AA size 12{A} {}.

In principle, a nucleus can have any combination of protons and neutrons, but Figure 31.14 shows a definite pattern for those that are stable. For low-mass nuclei, there is a strong tendency for NN size 12{N} {} and ZZ size 12{Z} {} to be nearly equal. This means that the nuclear force is more attractive when N=ZN=Z size 12{N=Z} {}. More detailed examination reveals greater stability when NN size 12{N} {} and ZZ size 12{Z} {} are even numbers—nuclear forces are more attractive when neutrons and protons are in pairs. For increasingly higher masses, there are progressively more neutrons than protons in stable nuclei. This is due to the ever-growing repulsion between protons. Since nuclear forces are short ranged, and the Coulomb force is long ranged, an excess of neutrons keeps the protons a little farther apart, reducing Coulomb repulsion. Decay modes of nuclides out of the region of stability consistently produce nuclides closer to the region of stability. There are more stable nuclei having certain numbers of protons and neutrons, called magic numbers. Magic numbers indicate a shell structure for the nucleus in which closed shells are more stable. Nuclear shell theory has been very successful in explaining nuclear energy levels, nuclear decay, and the greater stability of nuclei with closed shells. We have been producing ever-heavier transuranic elements since the early 1940s, and we have now produced the element with Z=118Z=118 size 12{Z="118"} {}. There are theoretical predictions of an island of relative stability for nuclei with such high ZZ size 12{Z} {} s.

Portrait of Maria Goeppert Mayer
Figure 31.15 The German-born American physicist Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906–1972) shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in physics with J. Jensen for the creation of the nuclear shell model. This successful nuclear model has nucleons filling shells analogous to electron shells in atoms. It was inspired by patterns observed in nuclear properties. (credit: Nobel Foundation via Wikimedia Commons)
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