P2 Radioactivity

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: _lakmini
  • Created on: 06-03-13 15:23


  • Isotopes are different forms of the same element.
  • Isotopes are atoms with the same number of protons in their nucleus, but a different number of neutrons.
  • They have the same atomic number but different mass numbers.
  • Most elements have different isotopes, but there's usually one or two stable ones.
  • Other isotopes tend to be radioactive (carbon-14) which means they decay into other elements and give out radiation.
  • This is where all radioactivity comes from- unstable radioactive isotopes undergoing nuclear decay and spitting out high energy particles or waves.
1 of 2


  • Unstable nuclei will decay and in the process give out ionising radiation. This process is totally random.
  • When the nucleus does decay, it will spit out one or more out of three types of radiation- alpha, beta and gamma.
  • In the process, the nucleus will often change into a new element.
  • When an atom loses or gains an electron, it is turned into an ion. This is radiation.
  • Alpha particles have a large positive charge. When an alpha particle passes close to an atom, it can pull a negatively charged electron out of orbit.
  • Beta particles have a negative charge and  push an electron out of orbit from an atom.
  • Gamma rays can interact with the electrons orbiting the atom and transfer energy to them. If an electron gets enough energy, it can break free from the atom.
2 of 2


No comments have yet been made

Similar Physics resources:

See all Physics resources »See all Radioactivity resources »