Nuclear Chemistry Flashcards

Nuclear Chemistry Flashcards
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How gamma decay changes the atomic mass
The atomic mass does not change, because the atom keeps all its protons and neutrons.
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How beta decay affects the atom's atomic mass
The atomic mass stays the same, because the only released particle is a very light electron.
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How alpha decay changes the atom's atomic mass
The atomic mass goes down by 4
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How beta decay affects the atomic number
The atomic number rises by one, because one neutron became a proton.
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How the atom's atomic number changes during alpha decay
The atomic number goes down by 2, because the alpha particle included 2 protons.
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Define the term: beta decay
A neutron becomes a proton and the atom releases an electron. Beta particles can damage human tissue, but they are also used in radiation treatment for cancer.
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Define the term: alpha decay
An atom releases an alpha particle that's made up of 2 neutrons and 2 protons. An alpha particle is essentially the same as a Helium nucleus.
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Flashcard Content Overview

In this flashcard set, you'll refresh your memory about the types of radioactive decay. You'll reinforce your knowledge of alpha decay, beta decay, and gamma decay. This includes the effect each type of decay has upon the atom's atomic number and its mass. These flashcards can help you remember what half-life and mass defect are. You will also review the steps of nuclear fission.

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Define the term: alpha decay
An atom releases an alpha particle that's made up of 2 neutrons and 2 protons. An alpha particle is essentially the same as a Helium nucleus.
Define the term: beta decay
A neutron becomes a proton and the atom releases an electron. Beta particles can damage human tissue, but they are also used in radiation treatment for cancer.
How the atom's atomic number changes during alpha decay
The atomic number goes down by 2, because the alpha particle included 2 protons.
How beta decay affects the atomic number
The atomic number rises by one, because one neutron became a proton.
How alpha decay changes the atom's atomic mass
The atomic mass goes down by 4
How beta decay affects the atom's atomic mass
The atomic mass stays the same, because the only released particle is a very light electron.
How gamma decay changes the atomic mass
The atomic mass does not change, because the atom keeps all its protons and neutrons.
How gamma decay changes the atom's atomic number
The atomic number does not change, because the atom keeps the same number of protons and neutrons.
Define the term: gamma decay
The atom releases high-energy radioactive gamma rays, because protons and neutrons go to lower energy levels.
Define the term: half-life
Half-life is the length of time it takes for half of a radioactive sample to decay. Each element has its own different half-life.
Define the term: mass defect
The difference between the mass of an atom, and the combined mass of all the pieces the atom got broken into during nuclear fission
Steps in nuclear fission
A neutron strikes an unstable atom. The atom splits into multiple smaller atoms, releasing lots of energy, and it may also release neutrons.
After two half-lives, this much of the element will remain.
25% of the original sample, or 1/4
Units needed for working with half-life problems
Half-life calculations work the same for calculations in many different units, including atoms, moles, grams, or kilograms.
After three half-lives, this much of the element will remain
1/8 or 12.5% of the original amount.

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