Unit 5: Nuclear Chemistry

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Nuclear Radiation
Particles or electromagnetic radiation emitted from the nucleus during radioactive decay
Half-life
The time required for half of a sample of a radioactive isotope to decay.
Alpha Particle
A particle made up of two protons and two neutrons, identical to a helium atom, ejected from a nucleus during a nuclear reaction
Alpha Decay
A nuclear reaction in which an atom emits an alpha particle consisting of two protons and two neutrons. This increases the atomic number by 2 and the mass number by 4.
Beta Particle
A high-speed electron (or positron) emitted in the decay of a radioactive isotope
Beta Decay
A nuclear reaction in which a neutron changes into a proton and an electron, and the atoms emits a beta particle, which is the electron. It increases the atomic number of the atom by 1, but the mass remains constant.
Gamma Radiation
Atomic emission of high energy photons, aka gamma particles (γ-particles) that does not alter the atom otherwise.
Fission
A nuclear reaction in which a massive nucleus splits into smaller nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy.
Fusion
A process in which the nuclei of two atoms combine to form a larger nucleus
Nuclear Power Plant
A facility that uses heat from nuclear reactors to produce electrical energy. Pros: carbon neutral, highly efficient. Cons: radioactive waste, can have catastrophic meltdowns.
Categories: Nuclear Chemistry