Packing Fraction

The difference of actual isotopic mass and the mass number in terms of packing fraction is defined as,

The value of packing fraction depends upon the manner of packing of the nucleons with in the nucleus. Its value can be negative, positive or even zero. A negative packing fraction generally indicates stability of the nucleus.

In general, lower the packing fraction, greater is the binding energy per nucleon and hence greater is the stability. The relatively low packing fraction of He, C and O implies their exceptional stability, packing fraction is least for Fe (negative) and highest for H (+78).

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