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Nuclear decay is the spontaneous emmision of particles from an atom. e.g Carbon -14 is less stable than carbon -13 and carbon -12 these are radioisotopes of carbon. A radioisotope is an atom that is capable of spontaneous emission of a particle or electromagnetic radiation.

Protons identify an element therefore the atom becomes a different element when the number of protons changes. When an atom changes from one element to another, it has transmutated. A result of a loss or gain of particles.

Alpha decay or alpha radiation is the ejection of an aplha particle, a cluster of two protons and neutrons. This produces an entirely different element. -Easily stopped -Strongly effected by a magnetic field (bending right) -heaviest as it gains protons -most charged-equivalent to a helium nucleus -10% the speed of light

Most atoms that make up the world around you contain stable nuclei. This means that the nuclei will never undergo nuclear decay. A tiny fraction of atoms have an unstable nuclei.

Beta decay or beta radiation- the ejection of a beta particle. Beta particles are identical and therefore are very small and have a negative charge. When the nucleus undergoes beta decay a neutron is converted into a proton. This increases the atomic number by one, meaning a new element is formed. However the mass number does not change because the total number of protons and neutrons stays the same. -Much lighter  -Negative charge as it has more negative electrons than positive protons -strongly affected by the magnetic field (bends left) -eqivalent to an electron -90% the speed of light

Alpha particles, beta  particles and gamma rays  are reffered to as ionisining radiation because they can remove electrons from atoms and molecules, giving them a charge.Alpha particles are large, heavy and slow compared to beta particles and gamma rays. This makes them 20 times better at ionising molecules.

Half-life: The rate at which nuclear decay takes place is measured by a radioisotope half-life. The half-life is the time it takes for half the nuclei to decay. In a fission reaction, a large nucleus splits into two almost equally sized poeces. During a fission reaction, two small nuclei came together to form a larger nucleus

Cell death occurs when ionising radiation enters the cell and destroys the biological molecules beyond repair. This may result in radiation burns or radiation sickness. Radiation sickness may result from exposure to a large amount of radiation in a short amount of time, or a lower amount of radiation over a large period of time.

Examples of radiation -radio waves -mircrowaves -visible light -ultraviolent light

Gamma decay or gamma radiation is not a particle but is a wave of pure energy. It is caused by the constant moving and rearranging of neutrons and protons in a nucleus, which causes the emmision of electromagnetic radiation.  -Difficult to stop-Penatrating -No mass as it has no protons, neutrons or electrons  -No charge -equivalent to a high energy x-ray -speed of light

Radiation burns are caused by short exposure to a very large amount of ionising radiation. The radiation damages the surface of skin or other organs

Radiation is used for  -Medical treatments  -Diagnosis  -Industrial application  -Scientific research

Cell mutation occurs when the ionising radiation damages the DNA inside the cell to die. If the DNA is damaged, the cell is reprogrammed. A cell mutation can be caused by even a small amount of radiation. However, the likelihood of cell mutation increases as the exposure to ionising radiation increases.

Gamma radiation can travel through skin, bone and aluminum, making it extremely dangerous to humans. Only a thick layer of concrete or lead will block the radiation. Gamma rays, x-rays and certain types of ultraviolet light are powerful enough to ionise molecules and cause damage.

Damaging effects of radiationCell death (which could cause blindness if it was to the eye) mutations (which could lead to replication of a mutated cell = cancer) and burns (sunburn if there’s no protection)


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