The general decrease in binding energy beyond iron is due to the fact that, as nuclei gets bigger, the ability of the strong force to counteract the electrostatic repulsion between protons becomes weaker. The most tightly bound isotopes are 62Ni, 58Fe, and 56Fe, which have binding energies of 8.8 MeV per nucleon. Elements heavier than these isotopes can yield energy by nuclear fission; lighter isotopes can yield energy by fusion.
Related category• ATOMIC AND NUCLEAR PHYSICS
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