Braving the Elements Essay

863 WordsSep 5, 20144 Pages
Braving the Elements, Chap. 2 1. How do isotopes of an element differ from each other? Isotopes differ from each other because they individually have different numbers of neutrons, which means that they also have different atomic masses. 2. Describe the different forms of radioactive decay. The different forms of radioactive decay consist of alpha, beta, and gamma decay. Alpha decay occurs when the nucleus has too many protons in it that need to be decreased. Beta decay occurs when the neutron to proton ratio is too great in the nucleus and causes instability. And gamma decay occurs when the nucleus has too much energy. 3. What is meant by nuclear fission? Nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction that produces a lot of energy, and occurs when the nucleus of an atom splits into two parts spontaneously or with the impact of another particle. 4. What is meant by nuclear fusion? Nuclear fusion occurs when a nuclear reaction in which atomic nuclei of low atomic number fuse to form a heavier nucleus with the release of energy. 5. How is radiation harmful to living tissue? Harm can be done to living tissue by radiation because it results from the transfer of energy to atoms and molecules in the cellular structure. Ionizing radiation causes atoms and molecules to become excited, which can make tissue produce free radicals, break chemical bonds, produce new chemical bonds, damage molecules that regulate vital cell processes, which can lead to deformities, cancer, and even death. 6. Briefly explain how nuclear fuel is converted to electrical energy in a nuclear power plant. In a nuclear-fueled power plant, water is turned into steam, which in turn drives turbine generators to produce electricity, and the heat to make the steam is created when uranium atoms split, which is known as fission. 7. How is radon harmful to people? Radon is harmful to people because

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