So, I understand the idea of conservation of mass/energy, and that if you converted even a very small amount of matter into pure energy, it converts to a surprisingly large amount of energy.
Thus, why nuclear fusion creates a whole bunch of energy, that, there is this discrepancy in mass, called the “mass defect” between the total mass of the two constituent molecules (two deuterium molecules, let’s say, in this case), that get combined to form a single Helium molecule, and, that amount of mass that “vanished” during the fusion, can’t literally just vanish altogether, it has to either become energy, or go somewhere or do something (law of conservation of matter/energy etc), and, thus we get the energy-output of the extremely energy-outputting event that is nuclear fusion (well, at least very energy-outputting when it comes to the fusion of lightweight elements, anyway. I know it gets more complicated once you’re dealing with elements heavier than Iron and all that, but I digress).
Anyway, but the thing that confused me is, it seems like the binding energy for the Helium nucleus that gets formed by the two dueterons is larger than the total binding energy that the two deuterons had (prior to fusing) by EXACTLY the same amount as the energy you’d get from the amount of matter of their mass defect getting turned into pure energy, in terms of their total combined mass vs the mass of the Helium nucleus that they become.
So, shouldn’t it just be an exactly, flawlessly energy-neutral event, then?
Like, if that amount of energy, that the mass defect would’ve put out, when that amount of mass gets converted into energy, is EXACTLY the amount of energy that is required for the higher binding energy needed to the Helium nucleus compared to 2x the binding energy of the deuterium nuclei, then, shouldn’t that just be where that mass defect energy “goes”, thus meaning no energy output to the outside world, when deuterium/helium fusion occurs?
I mean, I know that clearly I’m missing something here, since, of course, we know for a fact that hydrogen bombs (among other fusion-related things) *do* work, and *are* extremely exothermic and so on, thus the gigantic explosions and fireballs and so on…
Anyway, yea, so, I know I’m missing something here, as far as how this actually works, but, I’m not sure what it is.