# What are nuclear equations?

Jul 23, 2017

Nuclear equations represent the reactants and products in radioactive decay, nuclear fission, or nuclear fusion.

Instead of chemical equations where it shows the different number of elements is conserved in a reaction, in a nuclear reaction the atomic mass and proton number are conserved.

In these examples the sum of the masses (top) and the sum of the proton numbers (bottom) are the same on both sides:

${\text{_3^6Li+""_1^2H>2}}_{2}^{4} \alpha$

As you can see the elements haven't been conserved, but the mass number and proton number have $6 + 2 = 2 \cdot 4$, and $3 + 1 = 2 \cdot 2$

Another example:
${\text{_6^(14)C>""_7^(14)N+}}_{- 1}^{0} \beta$

Again, in this equation, the elements haven't been conserved, by the mass number and proton number have $14 = 14 + 0$, and $6 = 7 - 1$