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Basics of Nuclear Physics Flashcards

Basics of Nuclear Physics Flashcards
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Determine the element that remains after Au-185 undergoes alpha decay.

This equation shows the process:

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Positron

A positively-charged electron emitted during beta plus decay

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Half-Life

The amount of time required for half of a group of radioactive atoms of the same element to decay

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Gamma Decay

Gamma rays are released when protons and neutrons fall down to lower energy levels in this type of decay. Because protons are not gained or lost, the atom does not change elements.

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Beta Decay

In this type of radioactive decay, a neutron in the nucleus changes into a proton and the atom emits an electron. Because a proton is added, the atom is changed into a new element.

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Alpha Decay

This type of radioactive decay is when the atom's nucleus emits two protons and two neutrons. Because two protons are removed, the atom is changed into a different element.

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Radioactive Isotope

An isotope with an unstable nucleus and which emits energy or radiation to stabilize itself through a process called radioactive decay

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Isotope

Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons

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Flashcard Content Overview

If you've ever watched a superhero movie, you know that many superpowers were fictionally produced by the protagonist's exposure to radioactive materials. But what does radioactive mean? Is it always dangerous? What can radioactivity be used for? These flashcards will answer these questions and help you review radioactive elements.

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Isotope

Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons

Radioactive Isotope

An isotope with an unstable nucleus and which emits energy or radiation to stabilize itself through a process called radioactive decay

Alpha Decay

This type of radioactive decay is when the atom's nucleus emits two protons and two neutrons. Because two protons are removed, the atom is changed into a different element.

Beta Decay

In this type of radioactive decay, a neutron in the nucleus changes into a proton and the atom emits an electron. Because a proton is added, the atom is changed into a new element.

Gamma Decay

Gamma rays are released when protons and neutrons fall down to lower energy levels in this type of decay. Because protons are not gained or lost, the atom does not change elements.

Half-Life

The amount of time required for half of a group of radioactive atoms of the same element to decay

Positron

A positively-charged electron emitted during beta plus decay

Determine the element that remains after Au-185 undergoes alpha decay.

This equation shows the process:

Determine the element's half-life.

Approximately 200 years, since every 200 years, the percentage remaining is cut in half.

Uranium-Lead Dating

A type of radiometric dating that utilizes two isotopes of uranium, which both decay to different isotopes of lead

Very reliable method

Half-lives of U isotopes: 4.47 billion and 704 million years

Potassium-Argon Dating

A type of radiometric dating that utilizes the K-40 isotope, which decays to Ar-40 with a half-life of 1.3 billion years

Rubidium-Strontium Dating

A type of radiometric dating that utilizes the Rb-87 isotope, which decays to Sr-87 with a half-life of 50 billion years

Used to date moon rocks

Radiocarbon Dating

A type of radiometric dating that utilizes the C-14 isotope, which decays to N-14 with a half-life of 5,730 years

Used to date objects in human history due to carbon content of organic materials

Nuclear Fission

The splitting apart of a large unstable nucleus into two smaller nuclei

Generates energy

Requires the nucleus to be hit by neutrons

Occurs in a chain reaction

Nuclear Fusion

The joining together of two nuclei, which releases energy

Occurs in stars

Requires high pressure to push elements close enough and high temperature to overcome Coulomb force

Control Rod in Nuclear Reactions

a large piece of material in a nuclear reactor used to change the rate (slow down or speed up) of a nuclear reaction by absorbing neutrons

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