Ionising Radiation physics P4

uses and effects of ionising radiation

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  • Created on: 24-12-10 15:49
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Ionising Radiation (e.g. alpha, beta, gamma & X-rays)
X- rays & gamma rays ­ electromagnetic waves
Both high frequency, short wavelength electromagnetic waves.
Similar wavelengths, so have similar properties, but made in different ways:
a) Gamma rays ­ released from some unstable atomic nuclei when they decay.
Decay is completely random so cannot control when they are released.
b) X Rays ­ produced by firing high speed at heavy metal. Much easier to
X rays ­ used in hospitals
Used to see if there are any broken bones.
X Rays pass easily through flesh, but not as easily through things like bone.
Can cause cancer. To prevent this radiographers wear lead aprons or stand
behind a lead screen to keep exposure to a minimum.
Radiation harms living cells
Nuclear radiation (alpha, beta & gamma) and x rays enter living cells and
collide with molecules.
The collisions cause ionisation ­ damages/destroys molecules.
This can increase mutant cells which then constantly divide ­ Cancer


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