GCSE Physics Unit 2 Revision (15)

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Radioactive Decay Processes

  • Alpha particles are helium nuclei
  • They are relatively big and heavy and slow moving.
  • They therefore don't penetrate very far into materials but are stopped quickly.
  • Because of their size, they are strongly ionising, which just means they bash into a lot of atoms and knock electrons off them before they slow down, which creates lots of ions, hence the term 'ionising'.
  • An alpha particle is simply a helium nucleus, mass 4 and charge of 2+, made up of 2 protons and 2 neutrons.
  • Beta particles are electrons
  • These are in between alpha and gamma in terms of their…


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