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Explain radioactivity in terms of an unstable nucleus.

A) Explain radioactivity in terms of an unstable nucleus.
b) What are the differences between alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays?
c) Fluorine-18 has a half-life of 110 min. If 200 mg of fluorine-18 is stored at 6:30 am, how many mg of the isotope is till active at noon?
d) Indicate whether the following represent fission, fusion, or both:
i) Very high temperatures are required to initiate the reaction
ii) Lesser quantity of radioactive waste is generated
iii) Large amounts of energy are released.

Solution Preview

Atomic nuclei are stable subject to the condition that they contain an adequate number of neutrons, in order to "dilute" the concentration of positive charges brought about by the protons. Nuclei are held together by the strong nuclear force, but they are being pulled apart by the negative charge of the electrons around them. The strong force is stronger than the electrostatic force, which is why nuclei are generally stable. But the strong force works only over very short distances. When a nucleus becomes very large, the strong force is barely able to hold the outer particles against the electrostatic force. If large nuclei are disturbed, this tentative balance can be disrupted. The strong force is overcome by the electrostatic one, and the nuclei splits into a more stable ...

Solution Summary

Types of radiation produced by unstable nuclei. Characteristics of fission and fusion. Determination of isotopic concentrations based on half-life calculations.

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