P2 6.4 More About Alpha, Beta and Gamma Radiation

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  • More about alpha, beta and gamma radiation
    • Ionisation
      • When electrons are knocked off of nuclear radiation
      • Happens when radiation passes through a material and collides into it
      • Can damage a living cell
    • Alpha particles
      • Large, meaning they have many collisions with atoms
      • Strongly ionising
      • Do not penetrate far into a material because of collisions
      • Can be stopped by thin paper, human skin or a few centimetres of air
      • Positively charged
        • Deflected by electric and magnetic fields
    • Beta particles
      • Smaller and faster than alpha particles
      • Less ionising than alpha particles
      • Penetrate further than alpha particles
      • Blocked my a few metes of air or a thin sheet of aluminium
      • Negatively charged
      • Deflected by electric and magnetic fields
    • Gamma rays
      • Electromagnetic waves
        • Travel through far a material before colliding with an atom
      • Weakly ionising
      • Very penetrating
      • Several centimetres of lead or metres of concrete are needed to absorb the radiation
      • Not deflected by electric and magnetic fields


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