P2-Topic 11-Putting Radiation to use

These cards are for the Edexcel 360, additional science physics paper

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  • Created by: Georgia
  • Created on: 15-11-09 15:37


There are 3 types of radiation

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gama

IonisingHow strongly it takes away electrons

Penetrating-How far they go into a material

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Background Radiation

Background Radiation Comes from-

  • Food-12%
  • Medical X-Rays-12%
  • Rocks/Building Materials-14%
  • Nuclear Industry-1%
  • Cosmic Rays (space)10%
  • Radon Gas-51%

Background hadiation is higher at-

  • High altitude-as you are nearer to cosmic rays
  • Underground in mines-Increased rock
  • Certyain parts of the world-Increased rock types of high levels of Radon Gas
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Radon Gas

Radon Gas Concentration depends on what type of rock your house is built on

High doses of Radon Gas can cause Lung Cancer

Scientists cannot agree on what a safe (ish) concerntration is.

Some scientists predict 1 in 20 lung cancer deaths a year are radon gas related

New houses were there are high levels of radiatioon are being built with ventilation systems

Old houses in high concxentration areas are being recommended by thye goverment to have ventilation systems fitted

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Atomic Structure


  • Electrons Fly around the edge
  • Protons and Neutrons make up the neuclei
  • Proton-mass 1, charge +1
  • Neutron-mass 1, charge 0
  • Electron=mass 1/2000, charge -1
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Isotopes are differant forms of the same element

They have the same number of protons, and differant numbers of electrons

Same atomic number, differant atomic mass

Most Elements have isotopes, but usually there are only 1/2 stable ones

Unstable isotopes release radiation and become other elements, This is the cause of all radiation

You can never tell when an atom is going to become unstable and start releasding radiation-it is random

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Half Life

Half Life is the time taken for Half of the Radioactive atoms presant to decay

Short half life-activity falls quickly, decays quickly

Long Half Life-Falls slowly, they do not decay quickly, just wait...

Half Like can also be done on a graph (CGP Physics book-pg 58)

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Uses of Radiation

Smoke detectors (uses a weak sorce of alpha radiation)

  • Smoke wilklk stop alpha radiation
  • There is a sorce measuring the radiation-smoke stops readiation, alarm sounds]

Tracers In Medicine(uses gama rays)

  • Swallowed by patient, we then trace it around the body
  • We use this information to telkl us differant things(are organs working properly)

Radiotherapy(uses gama rays)

Sterilisation of Food, surgical Equiptment (uses gama rays)

  • This kill all microbes, and is good as it does not dammage the food but is still eatable
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Radioactive Dating

Radio active dating is looking at how radioactive something is, and then works backwards to see how old it is

This is not perfect as some of the assumptions it is based on are not completely accurate.

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Radioactive Safety

Peoples views on Radiation have cahnged over the years. When it was first descovered in 1898, knowone thought anything of it, by the 1986 chernobyl disaster people were more worried about radfiation. Nowadays there is strict rules on radiation.

Radio active safety is important as it can be very harmful it can cause cancer. The extent of damage depends on the exposure levels and type of radiation.

  • Outside the body, beta and gama are most dangerous
  • Inside the body alpha is most dangerous

Safety includes

  • not tyouching a source-use tongs
  • hold as far away from the body as possible
  • point away from you and do noty look diorectly at it
  • store in a lead box
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Good content and clearly presented. The use of the diagram adds further clarification - helpful!


Good :)

Jodie Elaine Christine Elizabeth Nash


Physics hasnt ever been my strong point.

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