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Atoms and Radiation
· Structure
Small positively charged nucleus made up
of protons and neutrons
Surrounded by electrons (negative
charge)
· Nuclei of radioactive substances are
unstable
· Become stable by radioactive Alpha
decay
· On decay = emits radiation Gamma Beta…read more

Slide 3

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Radiation
· Radioactivity is a random process, not
effected by external conditions
· Background radiation ­ around all the
time
Radon gas in the air
Food and drink
In the ground
Cosmic rays…read more

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Nuclear Reactions
· If atom gains or loses electrons
becomes charged and is called an ion
· Atoms with different numbers of
neutrons are called isotopes
· Total number of protons and neutrons
= mass number…read more

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Alpha Radiation
· Two protons and two neutrons (helium)
· Relative mass is 4, relative charge is +2
· When nucleus emits an alpha particle, the
nucleus loses two protons and two
neutrons
· Deflected towards negative plate in an
electric field
· Strongly ionising
· Absorbed by thin paper
· 5 cm range in air…read more

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Beta Radiation
· High speed electrons emitted when
neutron changes to a proton and electron
in nucleus
· Relative mass is 0, relative charge is -1
· When nucleus emits beta, atomic number
goes up by 1, mass number unchanged
· Deflected towards positive plate in an
electric field
· Less strongly ionising
· Absorbed by 5 mm of aluminium
· 1 m range in air…read more

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