Introduction to Radiation
A radioactive nucleus is unstable and will emit radiation. There are 3 main types.
- Strongly ionising
- Only travels a few centimetres in air
- Stopped by a thin sheet of paper
- Ionising Radiation
- Penetrates card or several sheets of paper
- Stopped by a 3mm hick sheet of aluminium or other metal
- Weakly ionising
- Very Penetrating
- Reduced significantly by a thick lead sheet or blocks of concrete
Ionising Radiation - Radiation that has enough energy to break molecules or atoms into charged particles called ions.
Ionisation - The molecules or atoms lose electrons
After ionisation the ions can then take part in chemical reactions -> ionising radiation damages living cells.
It kills them / damages their DNA in the cell so that the cells mutates into a cancer cell, which then grows in an uncontrolled manner.
- Gamma (from the radioactive nuclei)
- Ultra-Violet Radiation