Questions tagged [radioactivity]

Questions relating to radioactive substances and the chemistry of radioactivity. Also, use [rare-earth-elements] if the question is about their radioactivity specifically.

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16
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3answers
3k views

Why can radioactive contamination be spread by people?

So I am reading a book called "Voices from Chernobyl" where witnesses, nuclear plant workers, firefighters and other persons involved in the 1986 accident give testimony of their experiences....
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0answers
45 views

If M^2+ is radioactive with alpha emission, then the correct order of radioactivity of following substances is? [closed]

If $\ce{M^2+}$ is radioactive with alpha emission, then the correct order of radioactivity of following substances is? $\pu{1g}$ $\ce{MO}$ $\pu{1g}$ $\ce{MSO4}$ $\pu{1g}$ $\ce{MgCl2}$ $\pu{1g}$ $\ce{...
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0answers
40 views

Fate of compounds after radioactive decay [duplicate]

Let us say there is a $\ce{CO2}$ molecule containing $\ce{^{14}C}$ isotope. $\ce{^{14}C}$ undergoes decay to form $\ce{^{14}N}$. What happens to the molecule?Does it form $\ce{NO2}$? How are the ...
19
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3answers
4k views

How toxic chemically is plutonium (Pu), neglecting the radioactive damage?

In Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb, he says that, while Pu is not that radioactive (which is surprising -- maybe he means compared with radium and some other elements), it is very toxic. I would ...
0
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1answer
66 views

How are half lifes calculated for radioactive substances that decay over many years [duplicate]

How are the half lives (or whole lives) calculated for slowly decaying radioactive substances such as tellurium? I must be having a fundamental misunderstanding of how we are able to predict the ...
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2answers
32 views

Why is an atom with excess neutrons unstable? [duplicate]

In this chart, I can see that stable nuclides (other than hydrogen) have a neutron count greater than or equal to their proton count, and that the neutron:proton ratio for stable nuclides increases ...
-3
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1answer
82 views

Radioactive decay of ions in solution [closed]

What happens when ionic salts in solution decays? For example, if I had a handful of Francium-223 Palmitate(Francium salt of palmitic acid) and I were to put it in solution, how would the francium ...
3
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1answer
94 views

Has the half-life of an isotope ever been accurately predicted before it could be measured?

The half lives of many radioactive isotopes have been measured directly. But are their half-lives known to be a function of their composition? In other words, can someone say "given an atom with this ...
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4answers
91 views

Determining Half-lifes from a graph

So I was studying for an exam I have thursday when I came across a question regarding half-life. I had previously thought that the definition of a half-life is the time it takes for the amount of ...
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0answers
23 views

Do radioisotopes emitted particles influence their chemistry? [duplicate]

Supposedly, a isotopes have the same chemistry, i.e. how they bond to other atoms. Is this true for radioisotopes? I can imagine a nucleus emitting particles that interact with existing bonds in its ...
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2answers
198 views

In the reaction mentioned what percentage of reaction proceeds via SN1 mechanism?

2-iodo butane (having radioactive iodine) reacts with KI (having non radioactive iodine). Rate of loss of optical activity was 1.96 times the rate of loss of radioactivity. What percentage of reaction ...
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2answers
65 views

how can carbon dating even work? Its at atomic level! [duplicate]

I am a homeschooling parent, so pardon me asking stupid questions. Everywhere I read, it is said carbon based lifeforms eat carbon and after their death that atom starts a decay. But what I cannot ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Why does radiocarbon dating only work in nonliving creatures? [duplicate]

I understand how carbon dating works, though I do not understand why it doesn't happen while a creature is living. Because while we are alive we still have carbon 14 in us, so shouldn't it work?
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0answers
23 views

Can the presence of radon (Rn-222) be determined by testing dust?

If a relatively unventilated area, like a basement, were to be exposed to radon gas (Rn-222), would the dust in the area possess a detectable amount of lead? Considering lead 214 is a decay product of ...
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2answers
68 views

If a beta particle is just an electron, what causes it to be radioactive/dangerous? [closed]

Like what the title says, my question is if a beta particle is just an electron, what causes it to be dangerous? I understand that a beta particle is not only an electron but it is also one with a ...
0
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0answers
57 views

Purifying Potassium-40

What method is commonly used for separating out potassium-40 from natural potassium with a purity grade around 95% or more? How much would one kilogram of potassium-40 cost if this method is used?
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1answer
382 views

What Is the Difference Between Radiation and Radioactivity? [closed]

Does all radiation glow green and mutates people on contact?
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1answer
42 views

Long term composition of matter [closed]

If I have an igneous rock shown by geologic study to be 10,000 years old, approximately what percentage of the atoms (or protons, etc) in the rock might be the same ones that were in it 10,000 years ...
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1answer
706 views

Why Rutherford choose Alpha particle for his gold foil experiment? [closed]

Why did Rutherford choose Alpha particles for his gold foil experiment?
31
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1answer
8k views

What caused the flashes in the video footage of Chernobyl?

There is video footage of nearby villages in Pripyat, in the first week after the Chernobyl disaster. When I watch it there are villagers leading normal lives in normal clothing. Some Russian nuclear ...
1
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1answer
139 views

Does Suncream have any affect or help protect against radiation

So I was just watching the HBO series Chenoybl and saw that people suffered various degreesvof burns from radiation form Uranium 235 and some were very minor and looked like a normal sun burn. My ...
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3answers
115 views

Strontium-89 vs strontium-90

Why is radioactive strontium-89 is considered medically useful for bones (along with other benefits) whereas strontium-90 (also being radioactive) is harmful for human body? How does the addition of ...
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0answers
42 views

What is the most stable pear-shaped nucleus? [closed]

I have heard on the Internet that there are at least three pear-shaped nuclei: radium-224, radon-220 (a direct product of the previous isotope), and barium-144. CERN has a webpage about this discovery ...
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0answers
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Why should I care about the highly radioactive elements after fermium? [closed]

After element 100, fermium, there are a bunch of highly radioactive elements like fermium, tennessine, and oganesson, and others. These elements are to radioactive to store, they will instantly ...
0
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1answer
299 views

Nuclear equations for the decay of radon-222 to lead-206 [closed]

I have to answer this on my worksheet. I understand nuclear chemistry equations a bit, as well as the process of alpha decay and somewhat about what happens when an atom changes its number of protons ...
3
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1answer
155 views

How are Uranium and such materials made

I was wondering, how are materials like uranium, plutonium and other radioctive materials made. Do they all come from the old exploded stars and just been in the mountains for millions of years. Is ...
6
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1answer
494 views

What chemical explosives detonate when exposed to alpha particles or nuclear fission products?

Wikipedia's article on nitrogen triiodide $\ce{NI3}$ claims that Nitrogen triiodide is also notable for being the only known chemical explosive that detonates when exposed to alpha particles and ...
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1answer
103 views

A radioactive element that only emits beta rays [closed]

Are there any radioactive elements which only emit beta rays? If not, are there any radioactive elements that only emit beta and gamma rays?
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2answers
129 views

Will gamma radiation cause “thermal” decomposition of sodium bicarbonate?

I am conducting research for a new drug that contains powdered sodium bicarbonate, and the drug will need to be sterilized after placement into it's container/closure system. Typically, this is ...
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1answer
92 views

Radioactive elements [closed]

Radioactive elements emit energy as far as I understand, but what I don't get is how do you know if an element emits more than any other? That is, how does one measure how much energy an element ...
10
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4answers
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What is the benefit of using Am-241 in smoke detectors even though it is a radioactive element? [closed]

I see the labels denoting Am-241 in my smoke detectors. I am having a hard time understand why Am-241 is used in smoke detectors even though it is a radioactive element. It seems to me like a lot of ...
28
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4answers
5k views

Is there radioactivity at absolute zero?

Theoretically, will a radioactive material still be radioactive at absolute zero? What would happen at the lowest realistic temperatures we have ever achieved? Will radioactivity stop at absolute ...
2
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1answer
87 views

Instability due to neutrons

Why does an excess of neutrons leads to instability? For example, both $\ce{^{3}H}$ and $\ce{^{4}H}$ are unstable, with respective half-lives of $3.89\cdot 10^8$ and $1.39\cdot 10^{-22}$ seconds. By ...
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1answer
122 views

Nickel-63 and surge protector / voltage regulator

I've read that nickel-63 is used in surge protectors and voltage regulators. What is it about nickel-63 that makes it particularly suitable for those applications?
0
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1answer
155 views

How does the number of electrons increase in beta decay? [duplicate]

So, I am having trouble understanding beta decay. Particularly the number of electrons. For example; Carbon-14 decaying into Nitrogen-14. Carbon-14 has 12 neutrons, 6 protons and 6 electrons. When ...
4
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1answer
74 views

Fluorine and fossils

They are now assisted by chemists who are able to fix dates through the analysis of pollen, radioactive carbon, and fluorine found in connection with fossils.. Here the text is talking about basic ...
0
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1answer
40 views

dangers of radiation question

At a recent flea market, someone was selling a surplus military device that was marked as having 900 millicuries and should be disposed of in a safe way. I picked it up to read the words. Whould 900 ...
0
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1answer
1k views

How is phosphorus-32 produced?

I'm doing an assignment where I have to research a radioisotope of my choice. I decided to do phosphorus-32 and my assignment requires me to explain how the isotope is made. There is very minimal ...
3
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2answers
152 views

Radioactive Decay Process

Please bear with my long winded description. It is classical to model radioactive decay of some particles $A \rightarrow A^\ast$ by the differential equation \begin{align} \frac{\mathrm dN_A}{\...
10
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2answers
2k views

Half-Life of Radioactive Isotopes: Why? How?

Why do radioactive isotopes have a half-life? I know that they decay in order to become stable but why would it take out enough subatomic particles to be half? Or am I approaching this question the ...
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1answer
113 views

The Mathematic of finding the Decay Product Compoistion of Pitchblende/Uraninite [closed]

Just as the title says. I’m curious as to how you would go about figuring out the amount of decay products in a given sample of Pitchblende/Uraninite. I would hazard a guess at using the half life ...
0
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2answers
62 views

Can we produce tritium from helium 3? If yes how?

I want to know the best and economic way of the manufacture of tritium from helium-3
4
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1answer
108 views

Can't nobelium form compounds like other lanthanides/actinides do?

Over the past week I've been browsing through WebElements just to find out some interesting facts/properties about certain elements in the Periodic Table. I've just come across the uncommon element ...
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0answers
40 views

Why every atom of a radioactive element, though being indistinguishable in every aspect, doesn't decay simultaneously? [duplicate]

First of all, I know this (or, similar) question has been discussed previously here. But the discussion there couldn't help me completely getting rid of my confusion, hence this attempt. In any ...
3
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1answer
374 views

Uses of ruthenium-106?

I read a news article recently about a cloud of ruthenium-106 being released over Europe. The article mentioned one of the uses for this specific isotope is in fuel cells for satellites. I tried to do ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Is it possible to speed up radioactive decay?

I’m aware that elements like $\ce{^14C}$ have a known half-life, which means that over a span of roughly $5730$ years, half of the $\ce{^14C}$ atoms decay into $\ce{^14N}$. Are there any substances ...
2
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1answer
95 views

What are the ways to make radioactive water drinkable again? [closed]

Let's say survivors in the area contaminated by radioactive fallout need to somehow process the water from rivers, rain or pipes. How could they go about it? Is it even possible to 'remove ...
5
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1answer
485 views

Why do Alpha particles not collide with electrons during alpha decay? [duplicate]

Alpha particles are positively charged, so my question is that during alpha decay, when these are released from the nucleus, why doesn't it ever occur that they collide and grab an electron or two ...
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2answers
348 views

Would alpha particles react to form compounds? [closed]

Alpha particles, to my understanding, are just $\ce{He}^{2+}$ ions. Therefore, if one were to emit alpha particles in oxygen, wouldn't the oxygen, ($\ce{O^{2-}}$), react to form $\ce{HeO}$? If so, ...