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Nuclear Radiation…read more

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Nuclear Radiation and
Ionisation
· When an unstable nucleus decays, it gives off one or more kinds of
nuclear radiation
· The 3 kinds of radiation are alpha (), beta () and gamma ()
· All 3 kinds can cause ionisation. The radiation causes atoms to lose
or gain electrons, turning those atoms into ions
· Positive ions are formed when atoms lose electrons, and negative
ions are formed when atoms gain electrons
· The ionising power of each kind of radiation is linked to how far it
can penetrate materials. The further the radiation can penetrate
before hitting an atom, the less ionising it is…read more

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Ionisation and the Human
Body
· When radiation enters human cells, it can ionise
molecules and damage DNA
· This can cause mutations in the cell that could lead to
cancer
· Very high doses of radiation can kill cells completely…read more

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Alpha Radiation
Alpha particles () are relatively
big, heavy and slow moving. They
are made of 2 protons and 2
neutrons. Because of their size,
they are stopped quickly (they
don't penetrate far into
materials). They can be stopped
by paper or skin. This means that
they're strongly ionising…read more

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Beta Radiation
Beta particles () are electrons.
They are small and can move
quite fast. Beat particles
penetrate moderately (further
than alpha particles) before
colliding, so they are moderately
ionising. They can be stopped by a
thin sheet of metal, for example,
a few millimetres of aluminium.…read more

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