Chapter 21 Nuclear Chemistry Vocabulary

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an atom that is identified by the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus
particles in the nucleus
mass defect
the difference between the mass of an atom and the sum of the masses of the atom’s protons, neutrons, and electrons
nuclear binding energy
the energy released when a nucleus is formed from nucleons
nuclear shell model
a model that represents nucleons as existing in different energy levels, or shells, in the nucleus
magic numbers
the numbers (2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, and 126) that represent the number of particles in an extra-stable atomic nucleus that has completed shells of protons and neutrons
nuclear reaction
a reaction that affects the nucleus of an atom
the transformation of atoms of one element into atoms of a different element as a result of a nuclear reaction
Radioactive decay
the disintegration of an unstable atomic nucleus into one or more different nuclides, accompanied by the emission of radiation, the nuclear capture or ejection of electrons, or fission
nuclear radiation
the particles that are released from the nucleus during radioactive decay, such as neutrons, electrons, and photons
radioactive nuclide
a nuclide that contains isotopes that decay and that emit radiation
alpha particle
a positively charged atom that is released in the disintegration of radioactive elements and that consists of two protons and two neutrons
beta particle
a charged electron emitted during certain types of radioactive decay, such as beta decay
a particle that has the same mass and spin as an electron but that has a positive charge
electron capture
the process in which an inner orbital electron is captured by the nucleus of the atom that contains the electron
Gamma rays
high-energy electromagnetic waves emitted from a nucleus as it changes from an excited state to a ground energy state
the time required for half of a sample of a radioactive isotope to break down by radioactive decay to form a daughter isotope
decay series
a series of radioactive nuclides produced by successive radioactive decay until a stable nuclide is reached
parent nuclide
a radionuclide that yields a specific daughter nuclide as a later member of a radioactive series
daughter nuclides
the nuclides produced by the decay of the parent nuclides
artificial transmutations
bombardment of nuclei with charged and uncharged particles
Transuranium elements
elements with more than 92 protons in their nuclei
Radioactive dating
the process by which the approximate age of an object is determined based on the amount of certain radioactive nuclides present
nuclear fission
the splitting of the nucleus of a large atom into two or more fragments; releases additional neutrons and energy
nuclear fusion
the combination of the nuclei of small atoms to form a larger nucleus; releases energy
critical mass
the minimum mass of a fissionable isotope that provides the number of neutrons needed to sustain a chain reaction
chain reaction
a reaction in which the material that starts the reaction is also one of the products and can start another reaction
Categories: Nuclear Chemistry