What is Nuclear Binding Curve – Definition

Nuclear binding energy curve.
Nuclear binding energy curve. Source: hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu

If the splitting releases energy and the fusion releases the energy, so where is the breaking point? For understanding this issue it is better to relate the binding energy to one nucleon, to obtain nuclear binding curve. The binding energy per one nucleon is not linear. There is a peak in the binding energy curve in the region of stability near iron and this means that either the breakup of heavier nuclei than iron or the combining of lighter nuclei than iron will yield energy.

The reason the trend reverses after iron peak is the growing positive charge of the nuclei. The electric force has greater range than strong nuclear force. While the strong nuclear force binds only close neighbors the electric force of each proton repels the other protons.