I have just started the study of nuclear physics in my high school, and while reading about nuclear forces and binding energy per nucleon, I found out that the nuclear forces are highly short ranged and that is the reason for constancy of binding energy per nucleon $E_b / A $.

The proof mentioned that for marginally large nuclei if the maximum number of neighbors that a nucleon can have is $ p $, then its binding energy would be proportional to p.

$$ E_b = pK$$ where K is a constant having dimensions of energy.

Does this imply that the strong nuclear force follows the principle of superpositon, as the resultant binding energy is the sum of the energy due to individual nucleons? Is it true that although the nuclear forces do not follow the inverse square law, they still follow superposition? Is superposition a more "fundamental" property of the universe than the inverse square rule?

I need guidance along this line of reasoning of mine. Thanks in advance.


No, quantum chromodynamics is very non-linear and quantum effects are very strong. What you have is an approximation. A better approximation is given by the Semi-emprical mass formula.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot for the source! It provided me with the exact kind of infomation that I wanted !! $\endgroup$ – S.Jaychandran Dec 1 '13 at 13:31

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