Explain that if lighter atoms are fused to form atoms closer to iron, or heavier atoms are split to form atoms closer to iron, there is a mass loss. Explain that according to the principle of conservation of mass-energy, this mass loss must be accompanied by a release of energy according to Einstein’s mass-energy equation. Know that because c² is such a large number (is approx. equal to 9 x (10 to the 20th power)m²/s²), a small mass loss leads to a large energy release.
- Nuclear Processes
Nuclear processes are those in which an atomic nucleus changes; they include radioactive decay of naturally occurring and man-made isotopes and nuclear fission and fusion processes. As a basis for understanding this concept, students: