Unstable Nucleus
Quantum and Nuclear

Episode 523: Preparation for nuclear stability topic

Teaching Guidance for 16-19 IOP TAP

Starting from the pattern of stability, this section looks at forces in the nucleus and the idea of binding energy.

Main aims of this topic

Nuclear stability

Students will:

  • Sketch the N-Z graph for stable nuclei
  • Describe the balance of forces that results in a stable nucleus
  • Calculate mass defect and binding energy
  • Relate nuclear fission and fusion to the graph of binding energy per nucleon

Prior knowledge

Students should know about the composition of nuclei in terms of protons and neutrons. They should be familiar with nuclear notation e.g. 20983Bi

Where this leads

An understanding of nuclear stability leads on to a study of nuclear fusion and fission.

Unstable Nucleus
has the quantity Decay Constant Half-Life
is a constituent in our description of Ionising Radiation Nuclear Fission
is a type of Atomic Nucleus
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