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types of Decay

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by

Richard Datwyler

on 27 March 2017

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Transcript of types of Decay

Decays
The strong nuclear force only acts at a range of 10 . Yet the electrostatic force further away. This causes large nuclei to feel only the strong nuclear force of their nearest neighbors, but the electrostatic force of the whole nucleus. Thus larger nuclei need to have more neutrons to make them stable. Eventually there are still not enough and above a certain number (z=82) there are no more stable nuclei.
-15
When an nucleus breaks down we call it radioactive, and it emits different types of particles.
Alpha decay is seen in large nuclei, and it consists of protons and neutrons
Beta decay is the ejection of an electron or positron
Gamma decay is the loss of energy and emits photons.
Alpha Decay
An alpha particle is a helium nucleus, consisting of 2 protons and 2 neutrons, and results in
X Y + He
2
4
Z-2
A-4
A
Z
Both nucleon number and proton number are conserved.
What element is produced when No has an alpha decay?
259
No
2
4
100
255
259
102
He
+
Fm
It happens when a neutron turns into a proton and an electron.
Beta minus is an electron. NOTE this electron is not an orbital atomic electron but one FROM the nucleus.
Beta decay comes in two forms, - and +.
Beta plus is similar but a proton turns into a neutron and a positron
Both keep the nucleon count the same, but change the proton count.
X Y + e
-1
-1
Z+1
A
A
Z
X Y + e
+1
-1
Z-1
A
A
Z
Here an orbiting electron is captured by a proton in the nucleus and the pair change into a neutron
Similar to a Beta plus decay is an Electron Capture.

X + e Y
-1
-1
Z-1
A
A
Z
Gamma decay is a loss of energy, not a physical particle with mass. Thus a photon is the result, no massive particles.
X X + photon
Z
A
A
Z
*
Potassium 40 can undergo either a beta plus, a beta minus decay, or even an electron capture. Show the results for all (ignore neutinos)
K
19
40
K
19
40
K
19
40
EC
-
+
+ neutrino
+ antineutrino
Ca + e
Ar
Ar + e
+ e
18
18
20
40
40
40
+
-

+1
-1
-1
-
Full transcript