Nuclear Reactions. The Nucleus. Nuclide: a unique atom represented by the symbol :. A. X. Z. Zone of Stability. Stability. Radioactive Decay: the probability that a nucleus will undergo decomposition to form a different nucleus.
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Nuclide: a unique atom represented by the symbol:
Zone of Stability
Radioactive Decay: the probability that a nucleus will undergo decomposition to form a different nucleus
Isotopes: Atoms that have identical atomic numbers but different mass number values (neutrons have changed)
The atomic mass number (A) and atomic number (Z) must remain constant across the reaction!
A: 238 = 234 +4
Z: 92 = 90 + 2
Alpha Decay () : A very common mode of decay for heavy nuclides. (helium nucleus)
Beta Decay (-) : Most common, The mass number of the decaying remains constant, the net effect is the change of a neutron to a proton!
Positron Production (+) : Occurs for nuclides below the zone of stability, a particle with the same mass as an electron but opposite charge. The net effect is a change of a proton to a neutron.
Gamma ray () : Release of a high energy photon, frequently accompanies other reactions
Electron Capture : process in which one of the inner orbital electrons is captured by the nucleus
Interesting, and why do we not just turn mercury into gold?
Summary of Decay reactions
Decay Series: a sequence of nuclear reactions that ultimately result in the formation of a stable isotope.
n:# of half-lives
When a system gains or loses energy it also gains or loses a quantity of mass.
E = mc2
m = mass defect
E = change in energy
If E = (exothermic), mass is lost from the system.
Nuclear Transformation: the change of one element to another.
235U is limited
danger of meltdown
fuel is abundant
no danger of meltdown
no toxic waste
not yet sustainable