English Homework Essay

317 Words2 Pages
What is radioactivity? Radioactivity is the unstable atomic nuclei will spontaneously decompose to form nuclei with a higher stability. The decomposition process is called radioactivity. The energy and particles which are released during the decomposition process are called radiation. When unstable nuclei decompose in nature, the process is referred to as natural radioactivity. When the unstable nuclei are prepared in the laboratory, the decomposition is called induced radioactivity. There are three types of radioactivity 1. Alpha Radiation Alpha radiation consists of a stream of positively charged particles, called alpha particles, which have an atomic mass of 4 and a charge of +2 (a helium nucleus). When an alpha particle is ejected from a nucleus, the mass number of the nucleus decreases by four units and theatomic number decreases by two units. For example: 23892U → 42He + 23490Th The helium nucleus is the alpha particle. 2. Beta Radiation Beta radiation is a stream of electrons, called beta particles. When a beta particle is ejected, a neutron in the nucleus is converted to a proton, so the mass number of the nucleus is unchanged, but the atomic number increases by one unit. For example: 23490 → 0-1e + 23491Pa The electron is the beta particle. 3. Gamma Radiation Gamma rays are high-energy photons with a very short wavelength (0.0005 to 0.1 nm). The emission of gamma radiation results from an energy change within the atomic nucleus. Gamma emission changes neither the atomic number nor the atomic mass. Alpha and beta emission are often accompanied by gamma emission, as an excited nucleus drops to a lower and more stable energy state. The central part of an atom, the nucleus, consists of particles known as protons and neutrons, and almost identical in mass and size. However they have very different electrical properties. Most of an atom is empty

More about English Homework Essay

Open Document